Bruce Gradkowski remaining starter
His second chance could be even briefer even though he led two long touchdown drives to help the Raiders rally to beat the San Diego Chargers.
Coach Tom Cable said Monday that Bruce Gradkowski would remain the starter for the Raiders (2-3) if his injured right shoulder is healthy enough to play Sunday at San Francisco.
Gradkowski left the 35-27 victory over the Chargers late in the first quarter after being hit hard on the shoulder by Shaun Phillips. He made a brief return in the second half but wasn't nearly strong enough to go so Campbell got the chance to lead the comeback.
Cable said Gradkowski has a sprained shoulder and was undergoing an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of it.
Campbell made the most of his second opportunity with a well-played second half that won over the fans that booed him from almost the start of his Oakland career because they preferred Gradkowski over the player brought in from Washington to replace draft bust JaMarcus Russell.
"It's been a long year already for me," Campbell said. "It started back from the time I was traded. Starting the season off, I was putting too much pressure on myself to make all the plays because of the high hopes for me this season instead of just relaxing and playing the game and let the game come to you. I tried to force the game. That's one of the things I learned over the weeks when I was sitting out and doing the self evaluation on myself and getting to learn the offense a little better."
Campbell spent his two weeks on the bench doing a "self evaluation" of his early season play. He went 30 for 52 for 267 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions before being benched. He took six sacks and led the Raiders to only 16 points.
He didn't get off to a much better start in his return to the field. The Raiders punted without getting a first down on the first two series Campbell played, before driving for a field goal at the end of the first half.
After a brief drive by Gradkowski at the start of the third quarter, Campbell went back out and was unable to generate a first down on his initial drive of the second half. Then he finally showed why the Raiders traded for him in the offseason to replace Russell as the quarterback the Raiders looked to build around.
Campbell put together a 12-play, 97 yard drive capped by a 1-yard TD pass to Zach Miller to get the Raiders back in the game. He converted a third-and-1 sneak and threw a 58-yard pass to Louis Murphy on the drive.
Then on his next drive, Campbell drove the Raiders 73 yards in 14 plays for the go-ahead score on Michael Bush's 3-yard run with 3:43 to play. Campbell converted a key third-and-11 with a 13-yard pass to Miller and hit Brandon Myers with a 12-yard pass on fourth-and-1 to set up the go-ahead score.
"When you can get that kind of production from a guy who's been standing for a couple weeks now and then comes out and gets into rhythm like that, that's what you're hoping for," Cable said. "A job well done by him but by everybody on offense during those two drives."
Campbell needed to take only one more snap, a kneel-down that capped Oakland's first victory over its AFC West rival since 2003.
This marked the third straight win for the Raiders where the winning score was generated by the backup quarterback, including Russell's comeback in Denver last season after Charlie Frye was injured.
Cable said he'd prefer not to make in-game changes but pointed out the Raiders have had success in the past with it when George Blanda led comebacks in relief of Daryle Lamonica.
"There is some history there," Cable said. "So it's not like it hasn't been done here before. You'd like your quarterback to be able and go out and consistently do it. We've had two situations now where it worked in our favor, but again I just think it's a good problem to have two quality players."
Cable said the injury to RB Darren McFadden (hamstring) is improving and he would have a better idea Wednesday if he would be able to return this week. ... Cable said there's a "great chance" OL Robert Gallery could return for the first time since injuring his hamstring in the season opener. ... WR Chaz Schilens is not close to returning from a knee injury that was supposed to have healed by now.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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