Turns out, Lane Kiffin was right. Jamarcus Russell was a bust. And after dumping the No.1 pick out of LSU from three years back, the Raiders went after recently displaced quarterback Jason Campbell.
Excited about the future, the Oakland Raiders entered the 2010 season with plans to give the San Diego Chargers a run for the division title.
Of Course, in true Raider fashion, plans would soon change.
After a Week 1 beat down at Tennessee, and a tight win in the team's home opener against the less-than-threatening St. Louis Rams, the Raider benched their newly acquired quarterback and handed the ball to backup Bruce Gradkowski.
After stepping in and willing the team to its first win of the season, Gradkowski, threw for over 500 yards and 3 touchdowns in his next 2 starts. The running game seemed to open up with Gradkowski at the helm, and the underachieving Darren McFadden finally started to show glimpses of greatness.
Even the defense stepped up. And after bringing in Pro Bowl end Richard Seymour last year, and dropping a huge contract on cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, the defense now ranks 10th in the league in total yards allowed (305.8) and third against the pass (143.8).
However, with an underperforming group of receivers, a banged up backfield (Michael Bush has been nursing a broken thumb since late pre-season) and a defense that can’t stop the run to save Al Davis' life (ranked 31st), the Raiders are proving, once again, that they aren't ready to be winners.
A team in constant flux, the 1-4 Raiders continue looking for new way to turn their faltering season around. But with upcoming games against the San Diego Chargers, and the team across the Bay, the San Francisco 49ers, you have to wonder, what’s next?
With no Jamarcus or Campbell to blame, can Gradkowski save this sinking ship?
Of course not.
The Raiders simply have too many holes on both sides of the ball. The passing game struggles due to a lack of a deep-threat receiver, the defense can’t seem to stop the run – at all, their head coach is worried about losing his job (or at least should be), and the owner, well, is Al Davis.
There isn’t a backup quarterback in the league who can produce the kind of numbers needed to put this struggling franchise back on track. And, with minimal pressure on Gradkowski (even with a 0-2 record as a starter), the Raiders can officially begin planning for 2011.
Look, as long as Al Davis owns the Oakland Raiders, no one else can be The Man. The Raiders are doomed… but maybe that’s just the way they like it.