Maybe if Tom Cable didn’t have such a man crush on Bruce Gradkowski we might be having a different conversation right now. Chances are that even if Jason Campbell had been given every snap in 2010 we’d still have arrived at the same fork in the road. When compared to JaMarcus Russell, Campbell looks like Jim Plunkett. But no matter what Al Davis might think, when Campbell is compared to Plunkett he looks more like Jay Schroeder.
Not that there is any disrespect intended in putting Campbell in the Schroeder department. In fact, it is unfair at this point to put JC in the same category as JS being that Schroeder had a couple of winning seasons and playoff births as a starter.
Fact of the matter is that Campbell, much like Schroeder, is good for now but not for the foreseeable future.
What JC has brought to Oakland was much needed. A competent starter with a tireless work ethic and a professional demeanor. Not to mention his penchant for dealing with criticism, being benched and front office turmoil. Mind you I’m talking about his time in DC and not Oakland. Though he has already dealt with all of the above in the East Bay too.
Despite being one of the bigger reasons why the Raiders took a modest step towards respectability, Campbell just isn’t the man to get this team to the next level. His talent is real. No doubt about that. But at this point in his career I’m afraid we’ve seen about all there is to know about Jason Campbell.
He holds onto the rock too long. He checks down often despite having an arm capable of stretching the field. Campbell’s poise in the pocket is sporadic going from Joe Cool to Glass Joe seemingly every other week.
What he does do exceedingly well and what makes him a crucial asset to the current Oakland Raiders is his ability to sell a play fake like few others in the league. Just ask San Diego about that.
Still, Campbell is good for the time being but doesn’t hold much value going forward. Again this is not a knock on JC, just facing the facts and trying to keep things in perspective.
If and when the young Raider receiving corp steps up to the Zach Miller level, we’re going to need a more consistent QB calling signals. With an offense that relies as heavily on the run as these Raiders do, having a game manager is just fine. But if things go the way Hue Jackson and Al Davis envision then this squad is going to need a playmaker under center.
So, what options are there for Davis?
There is one prospect out there that screams Al Davis when you seem him play – Ryan Mallett. By the way, I’m not saying he is a Davis guy due to his arrest and other off field concerns. Besides, Al is on the record saying he’s out of the knucklehead market. No, this six foot seven inch gunslinger has the ideal size and arm strength Davis covets. Once thought to be a potential top pick in the draft, Mallett’s stock has tumbled. Without a first round pick, Davis could be delighted to see Mallett fall into his lap.
Of course Mallett is very much a project so he’s anything but a sure bet. So maybe keeping Campbell around as a mentor might be in order.
After making a draft day deal to bring in Campbell it seems unlikely Davis will go to that same well again. But drafting a QB is very much in the cards.
No matter the approach taken, Campbell is going to have to get this team into the playoffs in order to merit a contract extension beyond the two years he was granted upon being traded to the Raiders. But given the lack of depth at the position, Campbell seems likely to be seen in Silver and Black for the next few years. He’s still the best option in the East Bay even if he’s not the best choice for the future. For now, that’s good enough. I much prefer griping over Campbell’s erratic performances than Russell’s erratic nature. When it comes to quarterbacks, you’d rather have them making more mistakes on the field than off it, strange as that sounds. But its best when you have a QB you can trust anywhere and in any situation.