Wednesday, December 15 2010 @ 05:58 AM CST
Contributed by: Ore
Contributed by: Ore
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Have the Raiders Become Marty-Ball?...
In the 1990s, the Kansas City Chiefs were known as a conservative team that ran the ball, didn't turn it over, didn't put games in the hands of the quarterback, and won enough close games to content for the playoffs most years. They had a Hall of Fame defense with Neil Smith, Dale Carter, Albert Lewis, James Hasty, and the late Derrick Thomas. The Chiefs won with unexciting and mediocre quarterbacks like Steve Bono, Elvis Grbac, Steve DeBerg, and Dave Krieg. Their ball-control, no-frills, short-pass offense was the absolute antithesis of Al Davis. Never in a thousand years would Davis adapt that philosophy over his 7-step drop, speed-speed-speed, vertical-threat, mad-bomber mentality.
The current Oakland Raiders are exactly what the 1990s Chiefs were: a run-oriented, ball-control, dump-off offense. In Sunday's win against the Chargers, Raider receivers caught 3 passes for 40 yards. Al Davis receivers typically do that in one drive. Oakland's leading pass-catcher was a fullback. There were only two passes thrown beyond 10 yards, with one of them being completed. We have become Marty-ball.
For the season, Jason Campbell has thrown for 250 yards or more once, while throwing for under 100 yards three times. The number 1 receiver on their depth chart hasn't caught a pass since October. Tight end Zach Miller and running back Darren McFadden are the leading pass-catchers. Campbell had the same reputation in Washington, earning the fan nickname "Captain Checkdown" for his restraint in taking shots downfield, rarely "cutting it loose" despite his arm strength. For his career, due to below-average accuracy on the long-ball, Campbell has consistently ranked in the lower third of quarterbacks in the number of big (20+ yard) passing plays completed each season. Because he struggles with the deep pass, he has yet to throw more than 20 touchdowns in a season. So Hue Jackson is having him play it safe, looking for a big pass every once in a blue moon, but mainly handing the ball off, not turning it over, and hitting his running backs and tight ends.
Yep, this is Marty-ball, and the way this team is currently structured, with Campbell and a weak receiver cast, Marty-ball is likely to continue going forward.
So what will Al Davis do now? Will he change his tune 50 years into his NFL career, allowing this dink and dunk conservative offense to become the norm for the next few years? Or will he scrap the current system and find a new quarterback that can sling it downfield with better success? We are at a fork in the Oakland Raiders' future. It's an interesting one because Davis hates this kind of offense but has a solid nucleus of young players ready to win games in the next few years. What will he deem more important - continuity with a below average quarterback? Or re-tooling the playbook next season with a better passing quarterback?
Al Davis knows there are two ways to become a consistent playoff team nowadays:
1.) Have an amazing quarterback.
2.) Have a young game-managing quarterback who can develop into an elite quarterback, and in the meantime win with an amazing defense and running game.
Will Davis realize that his hand-picked Campbell is neither? Jason turns 30 next season. This year, he has faced five top-10 defenses and looked horrendous against four of them: Titans, Rams, Steelers, and 49ers.
What about improvement, you ask? While Campbell showed some improvement year to year in Washington, it was tiny and he never had the breakout season that all current top quarterbacks had within their first five years.
Looking at Brees, Brady, the Mannings, Rivers, Rodgers, Roethlisberger, Vick, Cassell, Flacco, Favre, Palmer, and McNabb - some of our best QBs this year and of the last decade; all of them had breakout seasons within their first four years starting. Campbell is on year six and has actually regressed this season. He still can't handle blitzing teams like the Steelers, Titans, and 49ers. In fact, his coach stated the Pittsburgh "pressure" got to Campbell. That's understandable to hear if you're talking about a rookie quarterback. But a six-year veteran?
So what will Davis do about this Marty-ball? Can Marty-ball work in the 2010s? Consider the following: the Saints, Packers, Patriots, Chiefs, Eagles, Falcons, Ravens, and Steelers - all playoff bound teams - have a quarterback with at least a 90 rating. Campbell's career rating is 82 and dropping.
Here are Al's two choices:
1.) Sign Campbell to a long-term contract KNOWING that Campbell isn't the passing wizard that playoff teams routinely have.
2.) Try to draft or trade for a young quarterback that could quickly develop into a gun-slinger and can win games even when the running game is failing and the opponents are dialing up blitzes.
What would you do? What will Al do? Buck his philosophy and build a strong Marty-ball team around Campbell? Or will he continue the quarterback shuffle as he keeps looking for an elite Silver and Black quarterback? Comment below and be heard, Nation.