ALAMEDA, Calif. - Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell has a respectable 89.1 passer rating, is on pace to throw for more than 3,700 yards and ranks in the NFL's top 10 for completion percentage.
Numbers like that have helped bring some balance to Oakland's run-dominated offence and have people talking about the Raiders as potential playoff contenders.
Yet the chatter about the Raiders is more about how Campbell's ill-timed mistakes helped cost them a game last week against New England.
Plays like the momentum-shifting interception in the end zone near the end of the first half and another thrown into the hands of Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork are what's keeping Campbell from joining the upper tier of NFL quarterbacks.
"You have to shake it off and move forward," Campbell said Wednesday. "I've played this game for a long time, been a starter in this league for 4 1/2, 5 years and it's all about moving on to the next week. Sometimes the defence is going to get you."
Campbell, who has been nursing a sore foot, had been playing nearly mistake-free through the Raiders' first three games despite playing with an injury-depleted receiving corps, and had a rating of 95.3 over an eight-game stretch dating to 2010.
He passed for 344 yards and a touchdown against New England but the lingering image from that game is of Campbell making the soft throw that ended up in the hands of safety Patrick Chung after the Raiders had driven to the Patriots' 6-yard line.
Oakland trailed 14-10 at the time but never recovered from the turnover, losing 31-19.
"You feel like you played a good game and then you look at one or two throws you wish you had back that changed the whole complex of how you played the game," Campbell said. "The thing with that play, it just killed our momentum as an offence going into the half because we hadn't (been) stopped yet."
Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey appeared to be cutting across the back of the end zone during the play but stopped his pattern and cut back to the right just before Campbell threw the interception.
Campbell declined to blame his receiver, however, insisting he was trying to throw the ball away.
"I've seen some good things out of Jason, but I've seen some things we need to continue to improve on," coach Hue Jackson said. "He would be the first to tell you that, and that's what we're going to do."
Moving on might not be so easy against Houston. One week after being shredded in the fourth quarter by Saints quarterback Drew Brees, the Texans held Pittsburgh to 10 points.
The good news for Campbell and the Raiders is that they may have a full complement of healthy wide receivers for the first time since early in training camp.
Louis Murphy, who underwent surgery for a sports hernia in August, practiced in full pads and is expected to make his 2011 debut Sunday against Houston. His return comes a week after Jacoby Ford rejoined practice after straining a hamstring in the season-opener.
"It's been a long road for him," Campbell said. "It feels good to have all the guys back. We're starting to get more healthy and that's what it's all about."
Notes: DE Jarvis Moss suffered a chest injury in practice but there is no word on how serious it is. "We'll find out as we go," Jackson said. "I think he'll be fine." ... Oakland could be scrambling to find a fullback this week. Starter Marcel Reece (ankle) has not practiced in more than a week and rookie TE Richard Gordon, who filled in for Reece, broke his hand against the Patriots. Gordon did not practice Wednesday. ... Free agent running back Nic Grigsby, recently let go by the Miami Dolphins, was signed to the practice squad.
Link: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/sports/football/raiders-campbell-havi ng-solid-season-but-mistakes-preventing-him-from-joining-nfls-elite-qb s-131183883.html