For Better or Worse Tom Cable Must Commit to Jason Campbell

The time has come for Tom Cable to take the plunge. He might not want to bend to the will of Al Davis but after Sunday he’s got no choice. Bruce Gradkowski is not the answer. Jason Campbell might not be the solution either but he’s the better option.

Don’t take my word for it, though. Check the stats. Campbell has more wins, a better QB rating and can make all the throws. While Gradkowski has had moments of genius, his overall body of work just doesn’t merit more playing time.

I was the first to call for Campbell’s benching after the San Francisco debacle. To JC’s credit he bounced back and led this team on a three-game winning streak.

Before going any further, let’s be honest about something. These Oakland Raiders are a running team. Look no further than the last two weeks to see what happens when Darren McFadden and Michael Bush are neutralized. Without a ground game the Oakland offense is effectively grounded.

Combine that with a lack of production from the wide receiver position – not talking about you, Jacoby Ford – and Zach Miller’s ineffectiveness due to injury and it really doesn’t matter who is calling the signals.   

However, after Sunday there is no doubt that Gradkowski isn’t the man for the job. He had plenty of time in the pocket yet still made bad decisions and horrendous throws. Perhaps not all Bruce’s fault, Hue Jackson must realize the limitations of his QB. Dialing up deep balls and asking Bruce to stand in the pocket and deliver strikes is not his strength.

The Big Gradkowski is a wildcard at the quarterback position. A little reminiscent of former Bronco Jake Plummer, Bruce Almighty is better at adlibbing than he is playing within a structured offense.

Again, this is not to say that Campbell and his erratic play are clear cut choice for the job. But if this is the style of play the Raiders will continue to go with then Gradkowski cannot be the man.

Campbell is by no means an accurate passer. But he’s completing his throws more often than Gradkowski. Campbell isn’t the portrait of poise in the pocket either, but I highly doubt he would have so badly under thrown open receivers as often as Bruce did given the amount of time he had to survey the field.

What is clouding Cable’s vision is the brief body of work Gradkowski has compiled during his limited time in the East Bay. The Big Gradkowski was a breath of fresh air amid the stench of JaMarcus Russell. He proved what Cable had known all along. With adequate quarterback play this team has a chance.

Truth of the matter is that Gradkowski is just that and nothing more – adequate.

Yes, unfortunately this is an ugly pageant. And while Campbell is no beauty queen he certainly cleans up a little better than Gradkowski.

Of course given Gradkowski’s oft-injured shoulder, this could be a readymade decision for Coach Cable. Either way this team has enjoyed most of its success this season under Campbell. Whether that is attributed more to the running game than Campbell is a fair argument. What is not fair is the short leash JC has been placed on while Gradkowski has been given the right to remain in the game despite poor play as was evident yesterday.

At this point, there is a much larger issue looming. One that Paul Gutierrez points out. If Cable continues his illogical flip-flopping and double speak then he could lose his most prized possession of all – the locker room.

The time has come to commit to Jason Campbell. For better or for worse he is the last and best option available to the Oakland Raiders.

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Tags: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured Bruce Gradkowski Darren McFadden Hue Jackson Jacoby Ford Jake Plummer JaMarcus Russell Jason Campbell Michael Bush Tom Cable Zach Miller

  • Gforce083

    Where has this blog been all season?! Finally a Raiders writer with logical and sane writing…unlike the TFDS boys.

  • Chris Shellcroft


    JBB is open year round, serving up all things Raider done our way. Keep stopping by, you’ll see.

    And be easy, the Darkside guys do a great job!

    RIP Patrick Patterson

  • RaiderNation

    It boggles my mind when people think Campbell is the better QB. He’s not the right fit for this offense. The O-Line is horrendous! Campbell is to slow to read the defense and to slow to feel pressure. He would of been sacked at least four times against the dolphins. Those games we won, DMac was the best back in the league. Take away the run game like the niners and steelers did when Campbell was playing, the results were 0 TDs. Against the Chiefs, Campbell almost single handedly lost the game for the raiders. Now, that Bruce is out all year Campbell has no excuses. Just don’t be surprise if we don’t win another game. Defenses are closing in quick on DMac and every Defense Coordinator knows to put pressure on Campbell. I just hope we don’t finish 5-11!

  • Chris Shellcroft


    Like I said, there is no right answer between JC and Gradkowski. Go back and look at how much time Bruce had to throw and how horrible some of his tosses were. Give Campbell that much time, let him get his feet set and step into a throw and there is no way he under throws Jacoby Ford as badly as Bruce did.

    I totally agree that this is a one man team. Run DMC is the alpha and omega of the offense.

    Sure, Bruce’s style is better when there is a pass rush. But as him to sit in the pocket, make reads and then throw the deep ball…forget about it.

    Like you said, it’s Campbell’s job now no matter what. I hope you’re wrong and we win a few more games. This season is slipping away but one big win can change everything.

  • Biff

    This author is 100% right. Just like what we say on our (STONE & Digital Dave) radio show. Cable and the Raiders have some coaching stability. Now it’s time for QB stability. Campebell has a major upside and is still young enough to be a better than avg qb. He show signs of greatness and can stretch the field. He’s maybe a full season away now that the Raiders are running well and have devloped some receivers. Gradkowski is a weak armed fire plug. A better than average back-up qb. He can come in and win a game and as the Raiders grow as a team. If Campbell is injured for a game or two this guy will be able to come in and win. If they are smart the Raiders have their starter(Campbell) and back up (Grads)for the next 10 years.

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  • stucktrader

    Isn’t JC here to throw the ball deep anyway? Sorry for GRAD, but i think he is done in Oakland. Their having to finish the season with JC is a good thing. He needs 100% reps. He joined the team late, he needs it. Jacoby Ford (and all the other speedy ‘short’ guys) is showing that his fighting for the ball and speed is superior to DHBs height and speed. I just hope the Raider boss sees the need to still build that O-line further. the 1st 3 picks should be all O-line, unless a true possession WR drops in their lap. They found Schilens at round 7, so it may not be worth going high in the draft anywhere except O-line.

  • Gforce083

    I’ve followed JCamp since his senior year at Auburn, when they went 13-0, kept out of the National Title game and JCamp was named the All-SEC Offensive Player of the Year. I think you have to look back to that year to really understand what JCamp can do for you. First of all, look who he had in the back field, Caddy Williams & Ronnie Brown, not the biggest NFL stars, but studs in college! Auburn wore down those SEC defenses pounding it with Williams & Brown and just when they started huffing and puffing and you thought the run would never let up, JCamp hit ‘em with the deep play-action bomb! Now, we all know, that is the kind of offense Al Davis loves and it’s the exact offense that JCamp is best suited for! The coaches HAVE to know this!

    Oakland can be this kind of offense, with D-Mac and Bush in the backfield and the burners they have at WR, it’s the perfect set up for JCamp. However, there’s been some lack-luster, predictable play calling and poor O-Line performance. In order to run any offense efficiently and effectively, you MUST have good O-Line play! Some people don’t want to admit it or maybe they just can’t see it (took me many years) but this is a game that is won or lost in the trenches. For Tom Cable to be the self-proclaimed O-Line guru, he sure hasn’t proven he can pick out quality O-Line talent or coach the guys he has. A great coach can bring the best out of their guys, you’ve got to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your players and how to get the best out of each one! To me, Cable has not shown he can do that.

    Most Raider fans probably didn’t follow or care much about JCamp while he was in Washington, but I followed him from day one. He had the opportunity to watch and grow behind Mark Brunell for a season in a half, not a bad guy to follow. After he finished out the back half of the 06′ season he came back in 07′ under the same offense and same coaching staff. You could clearly see a night and day difference his is play making ability and ability to read the defense. He had the teams full confidence, from coaches to players and the Redskins were coming together (Campbell did injury his knee and was out the last 4 weeks). After another so-so season (record wise) and a wild-card playoff loss, Coach Gibbs decided to finally hang it up for good. Well, this left Gibbs’ coaching staff and players wondering what would be next. Throughout the offseason, JCamp was interviewed several times, pretty much begging and pleading with the front office to keep the offensive (al saunders) and defensive (gregg williams) coordinators. JCamp knew that for a team to be great, it took consistency and continuity. He pointed out that teams and QBs like the Pats & Colts were great because of that fact. That season the offense was starting to click, JCamp was beginning to “live” Al Saunders offense, he no longer had to think about it, he just did it. He also knew that the D was playing great under Gregg Williams, he didn’t want something that wasn’t broken to be changed. However, what the Dan Snyder do? Fired the coaching staff to bring in, none other than the great Jim Zorn! JCamp’s 5 or 6th offense in as many years, going back to college, another set back. Well, that season JCamp and the ‘Skins came out and went 6-2, some analysts were calling JCamp the mid-season MVP, and then Jim Zorn and the ‘Skins fell apart for many reasons, alot to do with injuries and the trust in Campbell from the front office quickly declined. But when you think about it, it was the front office that hurt Campbell.

    Here’s the thing though, EVERY year in Washington, through all the adversity, through all the lack of confidence the front office had in him, he got statically better each and every year. Even when the team was playing like crap last season and he was taking sack after sack after sack because of the crappy o-line (much like McNabb is this year) you could tell JCamp was fighting and battling for his team. The dude would get laid out, come up limping but he’d huddle the team and rally for the next play. There is one play I remember in particular,3rd and long, the pocket collapsed in 1-2 seconds and he knew he was going to get blasted but he kept his eyes down field, stepped up and made a great throw for the first down, got back up and did it again. You could see it in his eyes man, he was playing for his teammates and doing everything he could to win. I say this, to tell Raider Nation that this guy is a fighter and he wants to be great. Remember when he got blasted in the pre-season vs the Niners? He wasn’t about to get taken off on the cart, he pushed trainers away and took a seat in the front. This guy is tough….unlike that other QB who just got put on IR.

    I can say though, I’ve noticed something different about him this season. He has always been, clam and not very “emotional” or “firey” so that’s normal but he’s a little different on the field. I live in Nashville and I went to the Week 1 game vs the Titans. Bought lower deck tickets on the Raiders sideline, I wanted to see JCamp’s debut as a Raider in person and I wanted to see him succeed. What I took away from watching him in person was his total frustration with the offensive performance. Which, I know all of Raider Nation was frustrated that game as well! Yet, it wasn’t the Campbell I remembered in Washington, he looked flustered and rattled, but who wouldn’t with the lack of protection he had that game. Yet, I’ve seen that from him all season.

    This offseason, I remember reading an article posted about JCamp that quoted a few of his coaches from Auburn. One of them said, to truly be a great coach, you have to know what works for your players and not all players are the same. They pointed out that JCamp is a great talent and a great individual but he is someone that requires having the confidence of his coaching staff and teammates in order to truly shine.

    When I read this, I knew that coach was exactly right. From watching him in Washington, the times when his teammates and Coach Gibbs (who drafted him) where supportive of him, he began to shine. During the Zorn era, Zorn and GM Ceratto lost faith him, began talking about bringing in other QBs. Although JCamp fought through the adversity and still raised his statistical performance, he wasn’t in that same “mid-season MVP form”. This is probably a flaw on JCamp’s part and it can be argued that a truly great player/talent shines no matter what. However, you can’t deny, in some part, that the Washington’s front office and new coach Shanny were wrong to doubt and distrust Campbell. They put the blame solely on him, when he was playing behind one of the worst o-lines in the league, a banged up RB and no-one to toss the ball to but Cooley, ’cause Moss was double teamed. The fact of the matter is, McNabb is struggling in Washington just as JCamp was and it’s highly noted that McNabb is a superior QB to JCamp.

    While JCamp’s confidence issues are a problem, the other issue is the coaching. Tom Cable and Hue Jackson have never trusted or put their confidence in Campbell. Cable knows Big Al wants JCamp as the Raiders signal caller and Big Al has made a good choice. Yet, we all know Cable’s love affair with Gradkowski and so does JCamp. There is no doubt in my mind that JCamp began to see during the offseason that Cable never really and full faith in him, that he questioned his ability…why? Can’t say for sure. But I have to go back to JCamp’s Auburn coaches, they knew what it took to make each and every player on that 2004, 13-0 team to succeed and that’s what a great coach does. So for me, this entire issue goes back to Cable and Jackson not being able to understand what JCamp’s strong suits are and what it takes to have him shine. He’s shown a couple flashes but he’s learning a new system and learning new teammates, there will be a natural struggle/learning curve there, of course. Still, these coaches need to get behind JCamp and support him. Give the guy a chance to show you that he can or cannot do this, 6 quarters is not enough. They pulled JCamp’s life support WAY too early and that lack of confidence in him has affected his game. To make matters worse, after leading the team to a comeback win against SD and a 3 win stretch, they never game him full confidence and talked about giving Gradkowski the start in Pitt. I mean, what do you expect the guy to think after that? The Raiders have had as losing record for 7 straight seasons, Tom Cable can’t honestly expect JCamp or even Tom Brady for that matter to turn this team around in 6 quarters.

    With all that said, I just want Raider Nation to know that this guy is a fighter. He doesn’t wear his emotions on his sleeve that a Philip Rivers and he can’t read a defense like a Peyton Manning but this guy can be good. He has the heart and the want to, to win and become great, he just needs the support of his staff and his team. I saw an article just last week that said JCamp stayed on the practice field working on routes and timing with Zach Miller, LONG after practice was over and everyone was gone. To me, that shows me a winner and guy who wants to succeed. Just give him a chance before you say he’s a failure. He didn’t come to a team that was only needing a QB… this team still has missing pieces before it truly becomes a contender.

  • Chris Shellcroft


    First off, you get the award for the most thorough comment EVER! Well done!

    I hear where you’re coming from. I saw JC play at Auburn and was very impressed with his arm and poise. The situation in DC was bad from the start. Snyder is not a good owner and the 29 different offenses he played in were all Vanilla. Plus, they never got him a quality posession receiver. Cooley is a little overrated to me and Santana Moss could stretch the field but there was never a guy willing to go over the middle there.

    As for the staff here in Oakland. I agree there is not enough trust. The basic issue is that Cable knows he has to win to keep his job. Therefore he’s always going to the guy who bailed him out last year – Gradkowski. With Bruce Almighty out now there is no choice. We’ll see how they handle him from here out but I’m hoping Campbell can put his stamp on the starting job. This team needs stability and getting a legit QB would be huge.

    Problem is JC did have plenty of chances in DC and he had his best year yet but they still traded him away. That doesn’t bode well. But for now, all of Cable’s chips are on Campbell.