Though the rise of Derek Carr has been a glorious one for the Silver and Black, the previous decade was another story circa 2003 to 2013.
As Raider Nation scans the 2017 horizon, one thing is clear, the “Autumn Wind” surely has begun to blow throughout the entire NFL landscape once again! Raiders fans across the globe are waiting with eager anticipation to watch their young talented team take the NFL head on and pillage and burn their way to an AFC West title for starters, then the AFC Championship, then claim the title as “World’s Best”. But one thing shouldn’t be forgotten; many dark days had to be endured to get to this point in Raiders history.
I deem these days as Oakland’s “Dark Age“, an age where truly no fair weather fan could have gone through, only those most loyal to the Silver and Black could have stuck it out through the years of Andrew Walter, Aaron Brooks, Marques Tuiasosopo, and of course JaMarcus Russell just to name a few.
As I was looking over the quite lengthy list of starting quarterbacks from 2003 to 2013 ( 17 in total ) I decided to make a list of the best three that the Raiders had. So without further a-due, your “best of the best” during one of the worst eras in Raiders football.
3. Carson Palmer 2011-2012
Carson Palmer was brought back to Oakland out of retirement by Raiders then head coach Hue Jackson after spending eight seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. Palmer joined the Raiders Mid-October after Oakland lost starting quarterback Jason Campbell to a season-ending injury.
In 2011, through 10 games Palmer led Oakland to four wins and passed for 2,753 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions. Carson had a quarterback rating of 80.5% and a completion percentage of 60.7%
In 2012, Palmer played in 15 games and led the Raiders to four wins, passed for 4,018 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. Palmer had a quarterback rating of 85.3% and a completion percentage of 61.1%
2. Kerry Collins 2004 – 2005
After playing with the Panthers and Giants, Collins was signed by the Oakland Raiders to a three-year deal. Collins was Rich Gannon’s backup in 2004 until Gannon went down with a neck injury in Week Three catapulting Collins into the starting spotlight.
In 2004, Collins played in 14 games and started in 13 leading the Raiders to only 3 of their 5 wins that season. He passing for 3,495 yards, 21 touchdowns to 20 interceptions. Kerry had a completion percentage of 56.3% and an overall quarterback rating of 74.8%
In 2005 Collins started in 15 games for the Raiders but only led them to four victories. He threw for 3,759 yards and 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Collins had a completion percentage of only 53.5% and an overall quarterback rating of 77.3%.
1. Jason Campbell 2010 – 2011
Jason Campbell was traded to the Oakland Raiders on April 24th, 2010 after his 5-year stint with the Washington Redskins came to a close when the Redskins acquired Donovan McNabb. The great Al Davis compared Campbell to Jim Plunkett so let that sink in….
In 2010 Campbell led Oakland to 6-0 in division play but the Raiders still couldn’t muster a playoff run falling short of the postseason going 8-8.
In 2010 Jason played in 13 games for the Raiders winning seven games and racking up 2,387 passing yards along with 222 rushing yards. Campbell also threw 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions ending the season with an 84.5% quarterback rating and a 59% completion percentage.
In 2011 Campbell’s career seemed to be taking off after leading the Raiders to a 4-2 start before his season ended with a collarbone injury. But through those six games, Campbell threw for 1,170 yards, six touchdowns, and four interceptions, and rushed for 60 yards and two touchdowns. Campbell had a completion percentage of 60.6% and an overall quarterback rating of 84.2.
So there you have it! My top three quarterbacks of the “Dark Age” in Oakland. Though players like Collins may have had more stats, Campbell was able to lead the Raiders to more wins in a shorter amount of time and who knows how well he may have done if a collarbone injury hadn’t derailed his career in Oakland. No matter what happened in the past I believe the true Raider Nation can now appreciate more fully how good it feels to have stability and leadership back at the most important position in football.