The Raiders have been one of the early season surprises in the NFL so far, as they moved to 4-2 with Sunday's win over Cleveland. However, the victory came at a steep price, as the Raiders lost their starting QB Jason Campbell to a busted shoulder that had to be surgically repaired immediately, and will likely shelve him the rest of the year.
The Raiders need to move on with a "Plan B", and as we saw in Kyle Boller's relief performance, he doesn't appear to be answer going forward. He can fill in for a few quarters like he did Sunday, but imagine him going the rest of the way? Even punter Shane Lechler sported a higher QB rating than Boller on Sunday, and it's not like he was facing a defensive juggernaut. Again, not to knock Boller, as he did what he had to, holding on to the second half lead and take the Raiders to victory, but if he takes over as the starter going forward, it will be back to 2008 all over again. For a 4-2 team determined to play strongly for their late owner, Al Davis, I don't think the Raiders brass will be content with their current QB situation, but the only decent free agent out there, David Garrard, just had surgery on his knee and likely won't play in 2011. So where does that leave the Raiders? The other FA's are guys like Josh McCown, Daunte Cullpepper and Marc Bulger, who are basically equal to Boller. They'll either scurrying the trade market before Tuesday's deadline, or ride it out with Boller, hoping he can be serviceable while Michael Bush and Run DMC become the whole focus of the offense. There's a chance they could look at Jake Delhomme, who's had the most success most recently as far as the free agent QB's and could be OK with a strong O-line and weapons around him.
I know just about every Raider fan is probably thinking the same thing, "Well what about Terrelle Pryor?" As talented and athletic as Pryor is, he's nowhere near ready to take over an NFL team and he may not even translate into a QB at the NFL level. Still though, after witnessing the success of Cam Newton, the Raiders may try out Pryor if Boller isn't the answer and they don't find anything else. They could be watching the Tim Tebow experiment in Denver to see how a pure run first QB translates to the NFL. At least Newton had the passing attributes to translate at this level. I'm not sure Tebow or Pryor do.
As far as the trade market, there are a few options out there who the Raiders could definitely use and who could come in and really help this offense. Kyle Orton is the biggest name out there as far as QB's on the trade market who've actually thrown a pass this season, and as good as I see him fitting in with Oakland, I highly doubt the Broncos would send him inside their division without taking a ransom from Oakland in return, even though reports suggest they'd consider. I think the real target for the Raiders though has to be Bengals reject Carson Palmer. The top pick of 2003's draft is just sitting on his couch right now waiting for the Bengals to trade him, and I can't think of a better target for the Raiders. The former USC-alum is coming off a 26-TD season in 2010 but never showed up for camp with Cinci after disagreements with management. It would be very tough for the Raiders to work something out with the Bengals in this short of a window though. If I'm Hue Jackson though, I'm pushing hard for either Palmer or Orton, and if it cost a 2nd round pick, than that's what it costs. Problem is though, is that the Raiders don't have a 2nd rounder until 2013's draft. What I'd try to do if I were Oakland would be to try and get Michael Bush involved instead of a high draft pick. Cinci has Cedric Benson but he's hardly the future for them there, while Bush is clearly cut out for a primary role. It would be a slight blow to the Raiders RB depth chart with the fragile McFadden atop the list, but backup running backs seem to be a dime a dozen in the NFL. Julius Jones, who collected 120 yards and 2 TD's in his last game during the Saints playoff loss in January, is un-employed for some reason, and he could easily caddy DMC.
The Raiders have a chance to make a splash this year and an addition like Palmer (assuming he's in football shape) would make the Raiders offense a unique powerhouse. Just think about him chucking deep balls to DHB, Denarious Moore and Jacoby Ford, not too mention the pressure and focus it would take off of DMC.
World Series Set: It seems like Baseball's postseason is just flying by this year as the Cardinals just defeated the Brewers Sunday night win the NL Pennant and stamp their ticket to the World Series to oppose the Texas Rangers. With the 49ers on bye, and without a game for the next 2 weeks, we'll be talking a lot of World Series baseball, along with more Raiders and Stanford. For more World Series coverage and Giants talk, check out our partner site, The Giants Baseball Blog- A San Francisco Giants Blog and Fan Website!