The quarterback is the leader of his team, and many people put the success or failure of a team squarely on the quarterback’s shoulders. He is the most important player on any given team, and is often looked to as the face of the franchise. A QB can be a hero if he succeeds, but can come under vicious attack if he fails.
The Raiders have had some of the NFL’s best and most colorful quarterbacks over the years. Flores, Blanda, Lamonica, Stabler, Plunkett, Gannon, and others have all done amazing work for the Silver and Black.
Coming on as a new fan in 2009, the QB in charge was the notorious Jamarcus Russell, sometimes called “JaCarcass”. Slow on his feet and even slower to make a play, his occasional well thrown pass was never able to make up for his constant fumbles, drops, bobbles, interceptions and utter ineptitude. Every snap was a terror, fans would cringe each time he took the ball in hand, and inevitably Russell would find a way to lose the ball, and almost always lose the game.
That season we saw QB’s Russell, Gradkowski, Frye, Boller and Losman. In Week 17 the injuries got so bad that all five of them had to play in the same game, if I recall correctly! Truly this was a low point in NFL quarterbacking and the Raiders horrible record that year proved how important the quarterback is to a football team.
Many of us felt that with the talent on the team, we’d only need a decent QB to become a threat again. When Russel was thrown out, and Jason Campbell came in, our hopes were proven right! At last a moderately talented QB for the Raiders! It seemed that the sky was the limit now.
But it takes time to develop chemistry and continuity with a new team and a new leader. At first Campbell was a flop on the field and was pulled in favor of Bruce Gradkwoski. Bruce had been decent as a back up and had saved the day a few times in 2009. He gave it a shot in 2010, but was quickly injured and became ineffective. Meanwhile the benching did wonders for Jason Campbell and by the second half of the season he was doing an acceptable job at QB. There were some horrible games like SF and PIT, but games that were terrific to watch like @San Diego,@Denver and @Kansas City. Sweeping the division was an real achievement and getting back to 8-8 for the season was a big improvement.
Jason Campbell deserves plenty of credit for helping to make that happen, and looking forward to 2011′s upcoming campaign, there’s lots of reasons to think that Jason might do even better!