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Will the Oakland Raiders Vertical Attack Work With Jason Campbell?

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It's no secret that Al Davis wants his Oakland Raiders to throw the ball deep. The ability to chuck it deep is the reason commonly mentioned as why Davis preferred Jason Campbell over Bruce Gradkowski. Well, if Jason Campbell is good at throwing the deep ball he is going to have to prove it in 2011, because he was off the mark in 2010.

Pro Football Focus posted a statistical look at deep balls thrown by all QBs in 2010. They counted any pass traveling more than 20 yards downfield in the air as being a deep pass. Every QB with more than 30 deeps passes qualified for the list. Bruce Gradkowski did not qualify.

15.5 percent of all of Jason Campbell's throws were of the deep variety. That was the sixth highest percentage in the league. Campbell complete on 14 of 51 deep passes—that is good for 27.45 completion percentage, and that placed him 27th out of 31 in deep pass completion percentage.

Those are not encouraging numbers. Even more discouraging is the fact that six of his 51 attempts were picked off. That means he completed almost half as many deep passes to the other team as he did his own team. Campbell had the third highest INT percentage on deep throws of all the QBs on this list.

Like any statistic there are all kinds of factors that can skew these numbers. For instance, few QBs were throwing deep with less pass protection than Jason Campbell. Also, Campbell was not exactly blessed with receivers that were going up and making plays for him in the deep game. Jacoby Ford made a few to remind us all that receivers can do it, but that was about it. Then, of course, there is a difference between a 21-yard post and a 50 yard streak, and when the Raiders go deep they really go deep.

So, throw all of these things together and you will come to the unavoidable conclusion is that not only Jason Campbell, but the entire offense, needs to improve at the vertical passing attack that is undoubtedly going to be a staple of the offense.