Jason Campbell had his right arm in a sling, was in street clothes on the sideline and yet never looked better as an NFL QB. Sometimes the best way to unearth true beauty is by contrast. Take Kyle Boller for example. Nobody ever thought he was an elite NFL thrower, at least nobody has since he flamed out as Baltimore’s franchise arm. On the other hand Campbell was always considered an underachiever of sorts.
Well Sunday put into clear focus just where each of the aforementioned men stand in the quarterback hierarchy of the league. By contrast, Campbell is a quarterback capable of leading a team into playoff contention while Boller looks barely fit for the UFL.
It is unfair to pin a loss on one player. Especially if that one player only threw half of the six costly interceptions on Sunday. Boller’s performance will surely end his NFL career in some capacity. He’ll likely struggle to make another roster and if so he’ll be an emergency arm only. But Hue Jackson had to know that before he gave him a job backing up Campbell.
That falls on the coach for poor personnel decisions. What else falls on the coach is a week long ego trip brought on by trading for Carson Palmer who also threw three picks.
Both Boller and Palmer gifted 14 points to the Chiefs directly as a pair of pick-6s put Oakland behind the 8-ball. Palmer gets a pass for being on his couch at this time one week ago. He’d better improve and in a hurry. Boller, on the other hand, has only the excuse of being Kyle Boller.
All afternoon long the Raiders Boller’d themselves.
More pointless and careless penalties resulted in free yards for the Chiefs or put Oakland in a position where Jackson had no choice but to ask Boller to throw for first downs. Some highly questionable play calling didn’t help either. Nor did the inability to punch it in from inside the one-yard line with a bruiser like Michael Bush running behind a bullying line.
A lot of blame can be filed with the Boller department. Palmer made some plays but not too much could be expected from a guy trying to learn a playbook, his new teammates and a new city in under a week.
The jury is out on Palmer. However Boller’s job should be given lethal injection. He’s done…hopefully. Never before have so many wretched Raider quarterback looked better by comparison. I found myself missing Kerry Collins, Bruce Gradkowski, Josh McCown and even…yes…JaMarcus Russell. Russell had horrendous accuracy but at least he missed everyone on the field. Boller looked like he was playing three-flies-up with the Chief DBs.
But this loss wasn’t all about Boller and Palmer splitting a six pack. Michael Huff whiffed on a few open field tackles. The Raiders didn’t get much pressure on Matt Cassel even though he didn’t have a banner day either. While the Chiefs didn’t pound the rock they ran effectively enough to keep the defense honest.
Now losing Darren McFadden did the Raiders no favors. But not getting Bush more involved while only teasing the use of Taiwan Jones is another coaching conundrum.
Yes, it is on the players to win. But it is the responsibility of the coaches to put said players in a position to win.
Yesterday Oakland looked like a team that was more concerned with all the Carson Palmer talk than they were their opponent. An opponent that is now officially in the AFC West hunt.
While the Chiefs get props for their win, the facts are hard to ignore. The fact of the matter is we’re already seeing an alarming pattern emerging with the Raiders this year. More often than not they are their own worst enemies. Costly turnovers, blown defensive assignments, careless execution and a plethora of penalties. All are mistakes of their own doing and all the blame is shared by the coaches and players alike.
If this team is serious about getting to that big game at the end of the season then they need to start winning these little games in the middle.