Oakland Raiders quaterback Carson Palmer scrambles against the Miami Dolphins.
Courtesy: US Presswire
ALAMEDA, CA - When the Raiders mortgaged a big chunk of their future on veteran quarterback Carson Palmer, they were in first place at 4-2, riding a two game winning streak.
Through the first six games, quarterback Jason Campbell had thrown six touchdowns to four interceptions for 1,170 yards and QB rating of 84.2. During that stretch the Raiders beat current playoff contenders Houston, Denver and the New York Jets.
Since Palmer's introduction into the lineup in week seven against the Chiefs, the Raiders are 3-4 with their new quarterback throwing for 1,730 yards with nine touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a quarterback rating is 70.9.
So the question arises, "Is Carson Palmer an upgrade over Jason Campbell?"
There are of course factors beyond individual statistics to consider when comparing the performance of both players this season. Palmer's learning curve in a new offense is one consideration, and more importantly, Campbell enjoyed the luxury of having Darren McFadden in his backfield -- something Palmer has yet to experience.
However, when a team values you as worthy of at least one and potentially two first-round draft picks, you're supposed to be able to take a team on your back and lead them to victory. Palmer has done the exact opposite. He has lost more than he's won, and in three of his seven games played for the Raiders, Palmer has thrown three or more interceptions.
In Campbell's oft criticized career with both Oakland and Washington, he only ever threw three interceptions in a single game once. Yes, one time in his entire career. That means Palmer has accomplished a feat three times in 6.5 games that Campbell has done once in six seasons.
Palmer does hold a commanding lead over Campbell in terms of touchdowns over the past five seasons (85-64) but he has also thrown 26 more interceptions (70-44) in that same time span.
Palmer's skill set is superior to Campbell's but so is his apparent carelessness with the football. Palmer has the greater potential to lead a team to victory on his arm, but also has the greater potential to lead a team to a loss with costly turnovers.
The Raiders have established themselves as one of the most dominant running teams in the N.F.L (with McFadden in the backfield). So if McFadden can stay healthy, do they even need a quarterback to chuck the ball all over the place in order to win? Or do they simply need a game manager who protects the football?
The Raiders substantial investment in Palmer, rather than his on-the-field performance will undoubtedly serve as the answer to that question. It is highly unlikely the team would bench or part ways with Palmer after trading away so much to obtain him.
But the question of whether he is indeed an upgrade over Campbell remains, and will continue to linger until Palmer asserts himself as a consistent winner in the Bay Area.