By Guest Contributor Raiders Sports Guy
There’s been a lot of talk about culture changes taking place in Alameda, and a little action to substantiate it.
Stanford Routt, an athlete posing as a skill-position player, was let go in lieu of a $5 million dollar payday and there’s talk that Kamerion Wimbley and Tommy Kelly could be the next to go. I disagree with both of those possible moves, but I’m a big fan of Kelly and Wimbley had a good season on paper, but some advanced metrics seem to indicate both underperformed.
What has been remarkably quiet is talk of the Raiders’ QB situation.
After hearing about the Carson Palmer trade on TV while recovering from a broken collarbone, Jason Campbell was his usual professional self. In a January radio interview, he told Rich Gannon that “things can change in a quick minute” in the NFL and that every player is essentially playing on a season-to-season basis. Campbell is right about that when you consider that the only thing guaranteed for the players of America’s deadliest sport are the signing bonuses.
Campbell was recently in the news when his wedding plans changed in a quick minute.
He and his fiance cancelled their wedding in the Domincan Republic hours before the ceremony was scheduled to take place, and their 162 guests got a vacation in the baseball incubator instead. Maybe they caught some great winter league games, but they didn’t see a wedding, that’s for sure.
Is the Raiders’ marriage with Campbell over, too?
Campbell and Carson Palmer are a study in contrasts. Palmer is a guy whose character I question very much. He was quick to crap on Hue Jackson after his disastrous debut against the Chiefs, even though Jackson basically spent a ton of personal equity and draft picks on a guy who quit on his last team.
Campbell wouldn’t say a single bad thing about a team that didn’t even have the decency to give him a heads-up that he’d been replaced via a blockbuster trade, while recovering from a freak injury that didn’t have long term significance.
Before the injury, Campbell was the best Raiders quarterback since Gannon was in his prime.
Palmer showed moments of brilliance coupled with terrible decision making that you wouldn’t expect from a veteran. Some of it could be blamed on Jackson’s playcalling; the long pass attempt after Bush’s strong performance in the critical drive against the Lions … but he also showed a knack for passing the ball to receivers who were inbounds during critical time management situations.
The decent and logical thing to do would be to offer Campbell an incentive-laden deal to come back and fight Palmer for the starting job. Every NFL team needs two serviceable QBs these days, and Campbell fits that bill and deserves the shot.
Oakland also needs a mentor at QB if the Terrelle Pryor bet is ever going to pay off, and nothing about Palmer says he’s that guy. His actions say he’s a selfish, me-first guy. Do you want a guy whose moral compass points to quitting, blaming, and complaining to mentor a raw talent?
Or would you rather have a guy who got run through numerous offenses in Washington without griping, and endured a humiliating replacement after a freak injury with grace? On those qualities alone, I take Campbell.
He also showed a cautiousness and care for the football that must’ve inspired confidence in his teammates.
Joe Namath was very flashy and was the consumate risk-taker, both personally and professionally. Namath was prone to getting picked off and finished his career with more interceptions that touchdown passes. He only experienced big-game success when he relied on his running game and controlling the clock. In the Jets’ Super Bowl win over the Colts, he hardly threw the ball in the second half despite being the first guy to pass for 4,000 yards in a season.
Can you see Palmer having the self-awareness to do the same?
There should be a quarterback controversy in Oakland this offseason. If Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen are serious about a culture change, this is a necessary move. There has to be another game-ready QB on the roster, and Campbell is the natural choice for the job.
The Raiders Sports Guy, Francis Mayer, has extensive experience in radio as a producer in Bakersfield, as a former morning show host at 106.1 KRAB and now producing a local morning news show. He and BASG played on the same Babe Ruth baseball team as 13-year-olds, and Francis still talks about that time he struck out the side in his only pitching appearance of the season. He’s also a fan of the Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Twins, a strange pairing of teams that’s never been fully explained.