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Inconsistency at quarterback plagues Raiders

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Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor

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Posted Oct. 23, 2010 @ 9:57 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

It's not hard to find reasons for yet another poor start by the Raiders. There have been breakdowns in pass protection, a porous run defense and a missed 32-yard field goal by PK Sebastian Janikowski that cost them a win in the final seconds against the Cardinals in Week Three.

Inconsistent play and personnel at the QB position, which have been issues for the team for several seasons, including the current one, loom large, too.

In the four-plus seasons since Kerry Collins left after the 2005 campaign, the Raiders have started eight different quarterbacks. Only one of them finished with more touchdown passes than interceptions in a season in which they started more than four games for Oakland — it was the much-maligned JaMarcus Russell in '08. The first overall pick in the '07 draft finished with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 13-8 in 15 starts that year before being cut after last season.

Some within the Raiders' organization, including Al Davis, thought they had at least a short-term solution to that problem after acquiring Jason Campbell from the Redskins in April. Oakland signed him to a two-year deal, and Davis compared him to Jim Plunkett in the offseason.

Campbell lost the starting job to Bruce Gradkowski after just 1½ games, though, and didn't do much to redeem himself when he received a second chance to tighten his grip on the job.

Gradkowski injured his shoulder against San Diego on Oct. 10, and after helping the Raiders beat the Chargers, Campbell had an awful showing when he started in a loss to the 49ers the next week. With an offensive line that struggles to keep defenders at bay, Campbell hasn't responded well to the pressure, whereas Gradkowski has shown more of an ability to improvise.

Heading into Week Seven, head coach Tom Cable is trying to decide whether to start Campbell, who is battling through the knee injury he suffered vs. San Francisco, or No. 3 QB Kyle Boller, as Gradkowski isn't expected to play. Regardless of who starts, Cable is not happy with the way Campbell has performed.

Gradkowski is still considered the No. 1 quarterback, but he's playing on a one-year tender, and the Raiders may go back to the drawing board when it comes to finding a solution at quarterback next offseason, even if he re-signs.

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