|Campell is targeting a December return, almost certainly in a backup role. (US PRESSWIRE)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
We've mentioned it before, but Jason Campbell must've been a despot in a previous life. Because no way a good and decent person would be subjected to the things Campbell has been subjected to since he was drafted by the Washington Redskins in 2005.
Whether it was sitting behind washed-up veterans Mark Brunell or Todd Collins, or the too-many-to-count offensive coordinators he's had in his seven seasons or, just when it appears everything is falling into place, the injuries that derailed any progress he might've made, Jason Campbell can't catch a break.
The latest injustice came in Week 6, after he suffered a broken collarbone. Raiders head coach Hue Jackson, eager to keep Oakland's momentum going, mortgaged future draft picks for a chance at landing a truly franchise quarterback.
The problem: Carson Palmer had been sitting comfortably on his couch for nine months, and the last time he resembled a franchise anything was 2006 with the Bengals, when he completed 62 percent of his passes (7.8 YPA), and threw 28 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. That was a year after he blew out his ACL (or more accurately: had it blown out for him), and two years before an elbow injury sapped his arm strength.
|Campbell, Palmer and the Raiders|
But Jackson sent a first- and second-round pick to Cincinnati for Palmer, and in six quarters he's thrown six interceptions, and the Raiders are 0-2. Not exactly how Jackson envisioned it.
That's where Campbell could come in. The team didn't place him on injured reserve, and he's targeting a December return, ostensibly as Palmer's backup.
"I don't rule out anything," Campbell said, according to NFL Network's Jason La Canfora. "I think the main thing is just focusing on getting my injury healthy, spending as much time and most of my effort into that. And I go to all the meetings, and all of that. I stay on it mentally. I can't do it physically at this point, and I know the free-agent market is coming in the offseason, and I feel very confident in that, too.
"I feel like I have proved myself as quarterback, and I feel like I've helped turn it around here in Oakland and got it going to the right direction, and we won and I helped us win here, and you never know what's going to happen, as far as playing this season. But I feel very confident in doing my part if things don't work out that way."
Campbell's a free agent after the season and there's virtually no chance the Raiders re-sign him. Owner Al Davis, who died in October, was Campbell's biggest fan but Jackson is without question a Palmer guy. The two know each from Palmer's days at USC, and Jackson was the Bengals' wide receiver coach while Palmer was there.
But here's the thing: before the collarbone injury Campbell was having his best season as an NFL quarterback. And Palmer has looked, well, like a guy who just got off his couch after taking nearly a year off.
According to Football Outsiders' quarterback efficiency metrics, this season Cambell ranked fourth in value-per-play behind Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Tony Romo. Palmer, meanwhile, ranks just ahead of Kyle Boller and behind the one and only Charlie Whitehurst.
It's still early in Palmer's return, and he's going to get better. Plus, Jackson has everything invested in the move; he won't reinstall Campbell as the starter when he's healthy no matter how much Palmer might be struggling. Which means, in all likelihood, that Campbell will be playing elsewhere in 2012.
Cris, Phil, and Warren go into overtime to complete their set of predictions for Week Ten. Watch a web-exclusive from SHOWTIME's Inside the NFL.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.