Raiders position analysis: Quarterback

The Raiders haven’t had a quarterback to be proud of in nearly ten years. Not since Rich Gannon was behind center could anyone say that the quarterback for the Raiders consistently led them to victory. In fact, in the past few years, whatever wins the Raiders had were usually despite the play of the quarterback.

Last season was the first time in a while anyone could truly see the play at quarterback begin to improve. At the start of the season the quarterback duties shifted back and forth between Bruce Gradkowski and Jason Campbell. Then Gradkowski went down with a shoulder injury in week 11 and the job was Campbell’s alone for the remainder of the season. Here is how things shake out currently:

Starter:

Jason Campbell

He was acquired in trade with the Washington Redskins during the draft, and early reports were that he was promised the starting job upon arrival. Coach Tom Cable disputed these reports and when the season began it became clear that starting was definitely not guaranteed for Campbell.

He was the starter to begin the season but after a poor effort in week two against the Rams, he was pulled in favor of Bruce Gradkowski. Then in week five against the Chargers, it was Campbell’s turn to come in for Gradkowski at which point he helped the Raiders pull out their first win over the Chargers in 13 tries. He was rewarded by getting his starting job back. Gradkowski would come in for Campbell again in week 11 but almost immediately injure his throwing shoulder and be lost for the season.

Campbell returned the next week and played quite well in the final five games of the season. Over those final games he had a 63.8 completion percentage, 6 TD’s to 2 Int’s, and a 96.8 passer rating. It appears after a shaky beginning to his Raider career that he is used to his teammates and the game plan. And for the first time in his career, next year he will have the same offensive play caller. He has gained the respect of Hue Jackson who spoke glowingly of his quarterback at the end of last season. It appears that Campbell has cemented himself as the Raiders starter for the foreseeable future.

Depth:

Bruce Gradkowski was the Raiders’ sparkplug at the quarterback position in 2009 but he went down with injury late in the season and has not been able to stay on the field since. He is set to become a free agent and may not return. Even if he returns, he cannot be counted on to stay healthy should Campbell go down with injury.

Kyle Boller was brought in during the offseason and as usual he looked good in practice and in preseason but terrible once he was called upon in a regular season game situation. He is a suitable third stringer but nothing more.

JT O’Sullivan was signed late in the season when Gradkowski went down due to injury. He is not expected to be on the team next season unless the Raiders have no better options.

Charlie Frye started a game late in 2009 and didn’t look too good. He has hung around as a clipboard carrier and was on injured reserve all of last season. He may be back for training camp but, like O’Sullivan, will only be a Raider if the team has no better options.

Position breakdown:

Overall this is not a solid group. What was thought to be a great trio in Campbell, Gradkowski, and Boller heading into last season, turned out to not be so great after all. In the end Campbell was the only dependable one of the group. Solid starter but no reliable backup.

Roster Status: Moderate

Also see position analyses:

Safety   I    Linebacker    I    Cornerback    I    Defensive End    I    Defensive Tackle    I    Special Teams

Quarterback   l   Running Back   l   Wide Receiver   l   Tight End   l   Offensive Tackle   l   Guard/Center  

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About Levi Damien, Senior Writer

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