The Raiders have a quarterback controversy. Not your typical, Kevin Kolb has a concussion but he is still the starter, no wait he isn’t, Mike Vick is the starter instead type of controversy, mind you. This is a controversy rooted in something more than simply who is playing QB. This is a controversy rooted more in who is calling the shots.
The widespread belief – which is rooted in some fact – is that Al Davis makes every decision for the franchise. As we all know, Mr. Davis has a very strict belief in how a football team should be assembled and how they should play the game. He wants the biggest, strongest and fastest athletes on the planet to play man-on-man defense and to throw the ball over the heads of the opposition on offense.
This is the gospel of Al. Go forth, play bump and run and get vertical.
Now, Davis might have his hand all in the personnel cookie jar but he certainly isn’t making decisions during the game.
Don’t believe me though. Just check Jason Campbell’s view of Bruce Gradkowski this Sunday as proof. Davis, who compared Campbell to Jim Plunkett, seems unlikely to have called for Campbell’s benching just six quarters into a three year deal.
No, that decision was made by Hue Jackson. Not the head coach Tom Cable but instead the offensive coordinator suggested benching the starting quarterback.
And what do you know? It worked.
Now, the real controversy has come to light: The struggle for control of the Raiders.
Cam Inman details all of the events that have unfolded over the past week. He, like many others in the media, is of the belief that Jackson is next in line to replace Cable.
If we’re to believe any of this to be true then it creates quite a conundrum.
Cable and Jackson are, by all accounts, on good terms with one another. It seems highly unlikely that Jackson would do anything to undermine Cable at the expense of making himself look better. However, Cable has lived under the constant watchful eye of Davis ever since he assumed the helm upon Lane Kiffin’s overhead projection out of Oakland.
Knowing he could well be living out his final days as an NFL head coach, Cable is desperate to win.
Jackson might have suggested benching Campbell but the ultimate say so lies with Cable. A loss to the St. Louis Rams would have increased the temperature on Cable’s seat from East Bay warm to Sacramento summertime humid. Therefore, going with Bruce Gradkowski was an easy call to make. Gradkowski saved Cable’s job last season and he’s been the best QB two years running now in Oakland.
Perhaps the decision was indeed Cable’s and Jackson simply stepped forward to accept responsibility in order to deflect the watchful eye of Davis away from his current head coach. After all, it took Cable almost half of last season to get permission to bench JaMarcus Russell. Imagine how long the approval process would have taken to get Campbell to take off the helmet and put on the headset. Of course, that is if Cable is the one making that decision. By his own account, Hue Jackson says he’s been granted “great latitude” by ”Coach” Davis to make decisions just like this.
So here we stand. Heading into just the third week of the season and already the storylines are sounding very similar to previous seasons. Who is going to play QB? Who is going to be the next head coach?
With so much rumor and falsehood that always seems to fly around the Raiders, it is hard to know which is fake and which is real. You certainly can’t trust what you hear from Chris Mortensen but then again you most definitely can’t trust what you hear from John Herrera either. Mortensen types had Cable fired back in January and Herrera types told us JaMarcus Russell was in Vegas on “team business”.
One thing that is clear is that the Bruce Gradkowski-Jason Campbell controversy is just the tip of the iceberg. What lurks beneath those frigid waters could soon come to the surface but chances are even when it does we’ll be given so many different views, opinions, reports, stories and leads from ‘anonymous sources’ that in the end it will still feel like we’re staring at the tip of the iceberg, unaware of what is really going on beneath the surface.