It was just about one year ago that I declared Jason Campbell to be the Rodney Dangerfield of the National Football League. The dude simply got no respect.
Flash forward to one year later and it would appear JC is finally getting a little love.
Raider Nation might not be totally sold on Campbell just yet but so long as he just wins, baby, nobody is going to complain. His conservative approach has been ideal for Oakland’s dominant ground game but don’t think that means he won’t cut it loose every once and a while. See Buffalo in Week Two as evidence of that.
With a certain indecisive head coach out of the picture, Campbell is thriving as Oakland’s official starter as he is among the NFL leaders in passer rating. Clearly Hue Jackson and his staff have no problems putting their faith in JC.
Perhaps the most telling fact of all that reflects how much respect Campbell is getting can be found in a stat I never knew existed until today.
PFT reports that Campbell draws the most roughing the passer penalties of any QB in the league. At a clip of 1.46 flags thrown for roughing every 100 times Campbell drops back. When compared to Tom Brady’s rate of .16 it might seem as if the refs are out to keep Campbell clean on Sundays.
Now I’m not really sure what to make of this.
On the one hand it’s amazing that the officials are keeping such a keen eye on a Raider QB. If you had told me something like this would exist for Oakland before any season I would have laughed. While I don’t totally buy-in to all the conspiracy theories out there it is too much of a coincidence that the Raiders are always among the league leaders in penalties despite an ever changing carousel of players and coaches.
Maybe the officials are just happy to see Campbell playing in a familiar offense for two years running so they want to give him a chance to show what he’s got. The odds are long on that one but at what else are you supposed to make of this stat?
Now on the other hand one could argue that Campbell’s long windup allows for more time to elapse thus there is a heighted chance of JC getting clocked upon release. There is something to be said for that.
Bigger quarterbacks tend to have slower deliveries simply due to physics. Midgets like Drew Brees can throw the ball from their chin without so much as flicking the wrist. Tall pocket passers like Campbell and even the golden boy Brady need a little extra split second to get their arms in motion. Also of note is that Brady spends a lot of his time lining up in the shotgun whereas Campbell is taking snaps under center. It doesn’t take a genius to know you’re more likely to get hit when you’re constantly having to get into your drop and read the defense. In the gun it is much easier to simply take the snap and scan the field.
Whether or not the league office has attempted to toss a bone Oakland’s way for all the past misgivings is highly debatable. After seeing Campbell get sneezed on during the Jets game on Sunday and drawing a roughing flag it became obvious that either the we’re slowing seeing a morph into professional flag football or JC is being protected by the officials.
Whatever the case, we’ll take whatever free yardage the league wants to throw Campbell’s way. After all the years of being haunted by bad calls it’s a beautiful thing to see the silver and black catch a few breaks.