Last year, the only thing that made watching the Oakland Raiders bearable, was drinking codeine syrup. This year it might be a different story.
In the 2009-10 season, the Black Hole referred to the Raiders’ quarterback position. It’s where passing went to die.
While it didn’t get a lot of hype as a top offseason acquisition, the Raiders addition of Jason Campbell at quarterback could possibly be the biggest upgrade by any team at any position. I wrote about Campbell’s worth last year.
Don’t get me wrong, just because his initials are J.C. doesn’t make him the savior. That said, I can guarantee you that he is a monstrous upgrade at the quarterback position for the Raiders and will make a big impact on their offense.
Take a look at the comparison of their 2009-2010 season in the table to the right.
This is not a straight comparison of Russell to Campbell, but includes the performance of the players teammates as well. That said, Campbell was dealing with coaching inexperience, a change of playcallers mid-year and playing in a much more difficult division that forced him to play the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys twice a year.
Some might argue that Campbell had better receivers at his disposal but that’s absolutely false. The Redskins most valuable wide receiver last year was Antwaan Randle-El with a DYAR of 53 and a DVOA of -3.8%. The Raiders most valuable wide receiver was Chaz Schilens with a 33 DYAR and a -4.1% DVOA. Neither team had a receiver that made a big impact.
The DYAR number shows the difference in overall value between the two QBs. Campbell is a 1092 yard upgrade by the Raiders. On a per play basis, Campbell had an average success rate (DVOA) while Russell was one of the worst in the league.
Let’s just use an overly simplistic model for a second, assuming that Jason Campbell could replicate his 3-yr average completion percentage of 62.3% in the Raiders offense. I realize this is not scientific, but we’re dealing with a hypothetical situation.
The Raiders threw 535 passes last year, and got 286 completions from a combination of Russell, Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye. With that same amount of attempts Campbell would complete an extra 3 passes per game for the Raiders offense. That might not sound like much, but it could result in a crucial few first downs that extend drives or move into field goal position.
The more telling statistic, however, is Net Yards per Pass. Russell averaged a full yard per play less than Campbell (4.77 to 5.85) over the last 3 years. In our same hypothetical scenario, the Raiders could expect an extra 578 passing yards per season, which is huge.
While there are too many other problems in Oakland to consider them a playoff contender this year, at least they’ve righted the ship at the most important position on the field.
All the statistics in the article are from the public and premium sections of FootballOutsiders.com as well as the Football Outsiders Almanac 2010.
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