In a team sport like football it is unfair to place blame on one individual. No matter how poorly JaMarcus Russell played during his expensive tenure in Oakland, there were always other facets of the game that could be held to the same scrutiny.
Often the offensive line failed to give Russell enough time to get into his drop, never mind being able to scan the field. The defense would allow opposing offenses to score at will on long drives forcing the Raiders to change their offensive gameplan and in effect taking Russell out of whatever comfort zone he might have been in.
On Sunday, this was not the case for Jason Campbell.
To begin, Campbell is scheduled to have an MRI on his knee which is reported to have been injured during the first half of the pathetic 17-9 loss to the then winless 49ers. For what it’s worth, Campbell did look sharp early on with the exception being red zone execution – again. Perhaps the knee injury, which could be severe, was the biggest factor in his poor performance.
Injuries notwithstanding, Campbell out did JaMarcus Russell in ineptitude – a seemingly impossible feat – with a hideous 8 for 21, 83-yard, 2-INT, 10.7 QB rating performance.
For the record, not even a purple drank drunk slow motion Russell had a day this pathetic. From a jail cell somewhere, Ryan Leaf was popping pills to ease the pain of watching JC in action.
Campbell’s excuses are few. He got a solid performance from the O-line. The defense was dominant early. He had receivers getting open downfield. Hue Jackson dialed up some quality play calls. Campbell just flat out had the execution of Michael J. Fox performing brain surgery. He was shaky in the pocket, nervous under pressure, easily rattled, quick to scramble, slow to release quality throws and clearly has yet to fully grasp the offense. Kyle Boller, already labeled a bust after a disappointing career in Baltimore, is looking to be a better option if Bruce Gradkowski’s shoulder isn’t right for the date in Denver next Sunday.
Campbell doesn’t carry the full brunt of blame. The Raiders still have no answers for stopping the run. The secondary continues to give up big plays in-between moments of stellar play. The field remains littered with more yellow flags than white yard markers thanks to a continued lack of focus.
But that doesn’t excuse Campbell from being unable to get this team into the end zone. Three Sebastian Janikowski field goals wouldn’t be enough to beat De La Salle let alone a winless NFL team.
Where do the Raiders go from here?
Campbell is not the answer this franchise was looking for and he’s got another two years on his deal thanks to Al Davis granting JC a contract extension before ever putting on a silver and black shirt. Mr. Davis still hasn’t learned his lesson. Players must prove themselves first before being given the keys to the car. In the case of JaMarcus, Mr. Davis was at the mercy of the draft. With Campbell, there is no excuse. He was, after all, drafted to be the franchise in the Nation’s Capital and then became expendable in just four years as the starter.
Initially, the thought was Campbell couldn’t be any worse than JaMarucs so this team stands to improve. Hard to believe but after Sunday this team is worse with Campbell. For all his faults, JaMarucs Russell did have a knack for coming up big late in sloppy games like the one played in Candlestick Park yesterday (see victories in Kansas City and Denver one year ago). Given that Campbell has the reputation of being a hard worker and Russell was known for napping during meetings. Kinda makes you wonder just how bad Campbell truly is or how good Russell could have been.
But I digress…
Campbell was brought in to resurrect the ghosts of Raider Past. Instead, all he’s done is dusted off the jersey of #2.