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.