HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 09: Quarterback Jason Campbell #8 of the Oakland Raiders calls out an audible against the Houston Texans on October 9, 2011 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Raiders won 25 to 20.(Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
Hiring after hiring shows that the Kansas City front office is committed to doing what they believe to be right despite public perception.
Let it be said from the outset that the headline above is admittedly not the sexy, impactful move that move Chiefs fans are hoping for this off-season. But hiring after hiring shows that the Kansas City front office is committed to doing what they believe to be right despite public perception. The Chiefs have not hired the flashy coach. They also avoided any inspiring coordinators. Instead, it's been familiar names and faces from the past with words like "trust" thrown around as if that wins football games.
While a fan base grows impatient, the front office really doesn't care at this point. After all, public perception in February means very little six months from now or even 11 months from now when Super Bowl contenders are fighting it out once again for the chance to hoist the trophy. These very factors come into play when determining what the Chiefs will do at the quarterback position this off-season.
Count me among those who would love to see the team make a play for Peyton Manning somehow or trade up for an impact quarterback. At the very least, I'd love to see an early round drafting of Kirk Cousins of Michigan State or Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State. But if the Chiefs are going to go through free agency, there's another name worth a look besides Kyle Orton that warrants more consideration than most will give him.
Jason Campbell was 4-2 as a starter last year for the Oakland Raiders, who were then in first place in the AFC West, before he was lost for the season. One panicked trade later and the Raiders had Carson Palmer in house. Fair or not, Campbell's time in Oakland was stamped "finished" at that point.
Yet in five-plus games, Campbell had helped Oakland win at Houston and at Denver while also beating the New York Jets at home. The Raiders were rolling without coming to the main stretch of their AFC West rivals. In short, the division was open for the taking for them (as well as every other team in 2011). Campbell had a 60.6 completion percentage last year, within .2 points of his career average, to go with 6 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.
Those numbers are not elite level numbers, and Campbell has been around the block in the NFL. He's a six-year veteran who is now 30 and it seems weird to believe that his best days could be ahead of him. Yet looking closely at both the Redskins and Raiders recent history reveals porous offensive lines early on in his career and the shifting of head coaches and assistant coaches all around him -- changing schemes from Al Saunders to Jim Zorn to Hue Jackson and back to Al Saunders in the last six seasons.
Every quarterback can obviously point to reasons why this or that didn't work out, so this isn't some statement to say "don't pay attention to Campbell's career numbers." He looks a lot like a Kyle Orton type when looking through that lens, with middling numbers in his career record of 31-39 as an NFL starter. He has 74 touchdowns against 50 interceptions to go with a 60.8 completion percentage for his six years in the league.
Still in his first four years in Oakland, his completion percentage went up each year as he learned to be more and more effective. There's no telling whether he needs a fresh start coached with the right scheme or whether he's hit his ceiling as a moderate NFL quarterback who could start for a handful of teams in the NFL each year. But to bring him in alongside Cassel and give him a real chance could unearth a gem. And it also sounds more like a Pioli move than breaking the bank for someone else -- like it or not.