QB J. Campbell has been at his best

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Age: 32

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A year removed from being told Bruce Gradkowski was getting his job entering Week 3, Jason Campbell is entrenched as the starting quarterback and giving the Raiders some of their best play since the MVP season of Rich Gannon nine years ago.

"I feel like this is my team," Campbell said Wednesday. "I felt that way last year, until early in the season. You get pulled that early, it will stall you for a little bit.

"I moved past that, and once I got back in there, I have always felt that way."

Lost in the gloom of a 38-35 loss to Buffalo in Week 2 was Campbell's signature performance with the Raiders. Twice he brought the Raiders from behind in the fourth quarter, the first time with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Darren McFadden and then again with a 50-yard strike to a leaping Denarius Moore.

The game ended when Campbell threw a would-be 56-yard scoring pass as time expired, only to have Buffalo's Da'Norris Searcy outwrestle Moore for the ball in the end zone for an interception.

"You win that game, everyone says, 'Oh, what a great comeback,' " Campbell said. "You lose, and shove it out the window. That's pretty much how it is."

The most significant aspect of Campbell's game in Buffalo was bringing the Raiders back in a game where the running game had been stopped. The Bills held McFadden to 21 yards on nine second-half carries. So Campbell picked up the offensive slack after halftime by completing 14 of 19 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns.

As offensive coordinator in 2010, Hue Jackson lobbied Tom Cable to bench Campbell at halftime of a 16-14 win over St. Louis in favor of Gradkowski in the second game of the season and for Gradkowski to start the following week against Arizona.


"Jason Campbell is as fine a quarterback as there is in this league," Jackson, now the Raiders coach, said. "But his true measure is going to be winning and losing games. We've got a very good opponent in our stadium, and he's got to go play well."

The Raiders host the New York Jets on Sunday at O.co Coliseum, followed by a home game against New England before going on the road to play Houston. Those three teams are a combined 6-0, giving Campbell a chance to validate Jackson's assessment of his standing within the NFL.

Should Campbell struggle, the perception that he's unlikely to become anything more than a midlevel quarterback given his six-plus years experience would continue unabated.

From the time Campbell got the job for good last season when Gradkowski separated his shoulder, his 97.2 passer rating over the last five games of 2010 and two games this season puts him among the league's elite quarterbacks.

The Raiders have won four of those games, and two of the losses came in games in which the offense put 66 points on the board while the Raiders gave up 76.

Campbell was a first-round pick out of Auburn by the Washington Redskins in 2005, and his talent has never been in question.

"I remember going to his workout at Auburn, and he was sitting on a knee and threw the ball 60 yards," Jets coach Rex Ryan said by conference call. "He has that kind of arm talent. "

It's clear continuity has been good for Campbell, whom the Raiders acquired in an April 2010 trade with Washington. A merry-go-round of offensive coordinators through his career at Auburn and with the Redskins gave way to a second-year with Jackson, plus the addition of Al Saunders, who coached him in Washington.

In a season-opening 23-20 win over Denver, Campbell managed the game expertly, running a four-minute drill in which he took maximum time off the clock as the Raiders finished the game with the ball.


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Posts: 362


I've been impressed- he's been playing well and under control. Almost won the game for us with that crazy last second heave into the endzone too. Now if the defense can recover from that awful second half last game we've got a pretty good team going.

votes: 1

Posts: 329


Connected on 18 of 27 for 156 yards against the Jets. His QB rating of 98 makes him #5 in the AFC and #10 overall.

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