As announced previously in this space, XFINITY from Comcast has generously agreed to support the best NFL community around -- us! As part of that effort, between now and the end of the 2010 NFL season XFINITY will be sponsoring a variety of special editorial and interactive features on our site.
I may as well start off this series, "There is Competition At The Position", a title that one member of this first discussion can't even spell, with the most important position on the field, quarterback.
Do any of you remember when Lane Kiffin said that the cut down to 53 players would not be difficult because there weren't very many good players on the team? Well, this year, for the first time in many years, that is NOT the case. In fact we may actually have a real quarterback controversy this year. And it isn't centered around, why is Al Davis starting that overweight, underachieving bus driver JaMarcus Russell?
We all know that JaMarcus lost his starting job to Bruce Gradkowski AND Charlie Frye last year. We also know that the Raiders have added Kyle Boller, who worked with Hue Jackson in Baltimore, AND the best quarterback on our roster Jason Campbell since the beginning of last year.
So, let us see how the current depth chart looks:
1) Jason Campbell
2) Bruce Gradkowski (Injured)
3) Charlie Frye
In Jason Campbell you have the Anti-Russell. He is known as a leader of men and someone who always sides with the organization and his teammates. He is also coming off of his best season to date, although he had zero protection and little to no offensive support because of bad drafts and injuries to his top target and run supporter (Clinto Portis and Chris Cooley).
A very interesting note is that Rock Cartwright, recently signed by the Raiders was his primary target out of the backfield with 27 receptions for 242 yards and a touchdown. Maybe Jason has something to do with Cartwright being in Oakland? Very Interesting!
Campbell also threw for the most touchdowns, 20, had the highest completion rate, 64.5, and the highest quarterback rating 86.4 of his career despite being sacked 43 times (3rd Most In NFL). To put that into some perspective, only two quarterbacks were sacked more than him and had higher ratings. Their names Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers.
Without a doubt, Jason Cambell, at 28 years of age is reaching his peak and really coming into his own at the exact time that he will don the silver and black for the first time.
It is a shame that he had to tear his pec muscle this off-season, because, in my eyes, the starting job was his to lose.
Anybody who saw Bruce play last year, knows that the Raiders are a much better team than their record. With Bruce starting the Raiders had a chance to win every game, except for the blowout in Dallas.
Bruce is a mobile and accurate quarterback that "Just Wins Baby". He reminds me of a Gold Gloves boxer who will NOT be defeated by bigger, stronger or faster fighters. he will lead with his chin, take your best puch and then couter with a shot to the ribs until his opponent crumbles or the bell rings.
Bruce may even beat out Campbell this summer, but to me it is a long shot. Then again, this is the quarterback that led Toledo to a 35-31 victory over #9 Pitt and also led the Raiders to a dramatic victory over Pittsburgh that ruined Pittsburgh's Playoff hopes. You think he plays with a chip on his shoulder against his home town teams that pass on him?
The "Frye-Guy" is all that you really need from a #3 quarterback. He is relentless in the film room and is always there to help the guys in the game with reads and advice. He is like having another coach on the field. When he got into the game last year, as a starter, he gave the team a chance to win on the road in Denver before being carted off of the filed and giving way to JaMarcus Russell who eventually overcame his own lapses to lead a touchdown drive. There is no doubt in my mind that a healthy Frye would have done the same thing, if not better.
This may be the most intriguing name on this list, besides the one at the bottom. Who is Kyle Boller in the NFL?
Boller is a former first round draft pick out of Cal who was inserted into the the starting line-up in Baltimore in his rookie season and was decent for the first three seasons and then sat behind Steve McNair and was finally cut when Joe Flacco was signed.
Boller sat out all of 2008 (on the Ravens IR) before resurfacing in St. Louis last season where, to be fair, his stats should be thrown out of the nearest window.
Al Davis does love to try and resurrect first round talent and his previous experience with Hue Jackson make him a threat to break into the 3rd QB role.
There has only been one quarter back in recent years that has been as big of a bust as JaMarcus Russell. That player is now stealing drugs from College kids, Ryan Leaf.
Russell was handed the reigns to the rebuilding, I know Al doesn't like that, but, that's what it has been for four years, Oakland Raiders. He has also been given 39 million dollars to date. You would think that a reasonable human being would be working hard, preparing and living life on top of the World. Not JaMarcus.
It is a slap in the face to every member in this organization, from players to janitors, that this bum will not restructure his contract. Whether it is bad advice, which I believe, or just plain ignorance he should not be anywhere near this new team until he repents, eats some crow and shows up at 6AM to watch tape and work-out, after taking a pay cut.
At this point he is 5th string and if the Raiders keep him around, he could fake an injury and get 9 million dollars. If they cut him now, reality will set in when nobody wants him unless he's willing to carry a clipboard for the League minimum.