It’s funny how everyone thinks that Jason Campbell was the reason for the Raiders success, and now that he’s most likely out for the season, the Raiders now don’t have a shot at going anywhere this season. Teams will stack the box and completely focus in on DMC and the run game they say. Didn’t all the teams we played this year already do that? If they didn’t, my eyes must’ve been lying to me. Sure Campbell was adequate at QB this year, but last I checked Campbell wasn’t exactly the biggest reason the Raiders have been winning. Campbell might have been playing the best football of his career, but how much is that really saying? Last year Bruce Gradkowski was just as effective as Campbell when he played, so why can’t Boller be effective in that same type of just manage the offense mold?
Let me start by saying I’m not the biggest Kyle Boller fan, but I wasn’t exactly a huge Jason Campbell fan either. Yes, Campbell brought some stability to the position, but he didn’t bring much of a wow factor to the offense, that was up to the playmakers on the outside like the emerging DHB, Moore, and Ford. Campbell defines average in the NFL at the QB position. He doesn’t really win you games, but he doesn’t do enough to lose you games most of the time. The one area he’s clearly lacked in is throwing the deep ball. In fact, he’s the 33rd ranked QB on deep pass completion percentage, which is surprising for a team that does take quite a few shots deep. This also means that most of Campbell’s long plays this season have come off of players making plays after the catch and picking up the “big play” yardage. The Raiders are currently 3rd in the NFL with 29 plays of over 20+ yards, which shows despite a ton of deep completions they still have the weapons to bust a big play at any given moment.
So what are we getting with Boller? Not entirely sure, but he looked about the same as Campbell in the second half of the game against Cleveland this weekend. Sure, people are already pointing to the two missed deep throws on wide open receivers, but that wasn’t a ton different than Campbell’s routinely missing the deep man on his throws over the season. I think after Boller gets a few more reps with the first team receivers, he can be a little bit more on target or at least get it in the right area code for them to make a play on the ball. Aside from those two throws, I actually liked what I saw from Boller when he came in this weekend.
First and foremost, he didn’t turn the ball over, which Campbell had done in every game this year except one. Second, he actually looked better than Campbell does in the moving around the pocket even with his “happy feet” syndrome. He even had two nice scrambles for decent yards, and one resulted in a first down where he evaded a rusher by ducking under his meat hook. His receivers dropped at least two very catch-able passes, so all in all it was a Jason Campbell-like performance out of the backup. If teams do “stack the box” to stop McFadden (when didn’t they), I don’t see why Kyle Boller can’t hit some of our up-and-coming receivers on short routes hoping they’ll break a tackle to get the “big play” the same way they did for Campbell. A TON of Campbell’s yards this year have come on short slants and screen plays. Do I trust Boller to make those short to medium throws? As much as I trusted Jason! Plus, Boller’s new wife is a smokeshow which has to give you some extra confidence!
There’s been a lot of talk about how the Raiders need to get someone else on the team like Palmer, Garrard, Edwards, or Orton to take over the QB spot. I’m actually surprisingly fine with Boller as the starter for the moment, and at least give him a week to see what he can do with the first team. The only one of those four I’d truly like to see in Oakland is Palmer, and even with him we’d have to give up draft picks in a 2012 draft that we have no picks for anyways. Orton has been replaced on his teams by Grossman, and Tebow, so I’ll just pass on him altogether especially since we’d give up a draft pick to a team we are trying to be better than. Garrard seems like a head case, and might be in the JaMarcus category as he misses meetings from time to time. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind them bringing back Edwards, since he was with them during the pre-season and somewhat knows the playbook. We do need another QB on the roster, because there’s noway we should be putting in Tyrelle Pryor in any games this season, so I’m hoping for Edwards in the short term with Boeller as our QB on a two week tryout as we face two teams we should beat. If we lose both, I’ll surely go into panic mode.