There will be no controversy.
That was the message conveyed by coach Tom Cable in his weekly press briefing the day after he benched starting quarterback Jason Campbell at halftime in favor of Bruce Gradkowski and emerged with a 16-14 win over the St. Louis Rams.
“I’ve heard if you have two running backs, like Michael (Bush) and Darren (McFadden), you have a tandem, but if you have two quarterbacks, it’s a controversy. There isn’t going to be a controversy. I’ll make a good decision, the right decision, and we’ll go from there.’’
Cable said he’d address the issue again Wednesday and talked up the quarterback depth that also includes No. 3 quarterback Kyle Boller.
Before we move on, here’s Cable’s response when asked if it was his call, needing only to tell Al Davis of his decision:
“Well, I think it has to be. When you sit in the chair that I do, you have to be able to go out and coach your team and make your decisions and do those things. If you don’t, I think you put yourself in a bind.’’
You be the judge as to whether “Well, it has to be’’ is the same thing as “Yes, it’s my decision.’’
Other quarterback related questions:
Q: Should Campbell have recognized the Raiders were in the wrong formation on fourth-and-1 and called a time out?
Cable: Yeah, absolutely. In the heat of the battle, whatever it is, we didn’t get it done. I tried to fix it, but (the officials) weren’t paying attention to us.
Q: Have you talked to Jason at all?
Cable: I talked to him a little bit yesterday and I’ll talk to both of them when we get back to work.
Q: Bruce was not sacked in the second half. Was that a function of offensive line play, mobility or both?
Cable: I think a little bit of both, but I thought we cleaned up some things. He got flushed twice, but I thought we cleaned up some things in terms of blitzes.
We talked all week, the quarterback would have to handle that overload pressure sometimes and either get it out of his hand or get himself in a better play, better protection, and I felt that other than the one free hitter on Jason early in the game, we just missed an assignment there, but really, Veldheer got beat the one time, other than it was kind of normal play back and forth. But I do think we adjusted well and I think we handled the pressures better.
Q: It appeared Jason had deeper routes and Bruce had shorter routes . . .
Cable: Early, that’s true because we wanted to get him started right but we were still throwing the deep balls and the go-routes, the big daggers and those things, so it probably went back to more the same.
But early, yeah, we wanted to get him in there and get him started and let him make some quick plays and see if he could get everyone’s confidence going.
Q: How much does who is at quarterback influence the play-calling?
Cable: Well, for us, I don’t think it matters for either guy. I think it’s just the situation of bringing a guy off the bench at halftime and you want to get him something quick and easy and get him started.
But you do that periodically throughout the game and I think every team, when you kind of feel a lull, you might get some quick balls or maybe some no-huddle, trying to change momentum a little bit. So I just think it’s a product of that more than anything.
Q: Do you think one can do what the other can, skill-wise?
Cable: Yeah, but they’re different physically. You know Jason’s got maybe a stronger arm; Bruce needs to be on time more. Those kinds of things. But mentally, they’re both very sharp. Both exactly what this football team needs. Like I said, it’s a good thing that’s going on. I mean, we can sit around and talk about it, which we all will for the week, but the bottom line is we’re fortunate to have this situation.
Q: How much input do you take from your offensive staff?
Cable: I certainly talk to them. I talked to them yesterday at halftime. I think that’s one of the real luxuries I have now of being the head coach and not trying to do too much. … It’s easy for me to take the situation to them and say, ‘Hey, this is what I think. What do you feel about it?’ The response that I get is another opinion, if you will, sometimes, and that’s always good. But I don’t have to do all that. I don’t have to worry about blocking that blitz and this run play and, ‘Oh by the way, I want to make the quarterback switch.’ And then, hey, I’ve got to get that kick coverage. I don’t have to do all that now. We’ve improved that way, and it’s really a good thing.
Q: Is it a setback at all in that you have Jason as the No. 1 guy since April, and then a game and a half into the season you switch gears? Or does the fact that Bruce was around last year make it easier to switch?
Cable: I think before you go into all that or read into all that, it’s about winning on Sundays. A decision was made yesterday to do that. Some of the benefits to it are the fact that Bruce has been around, yes, but if you remember, he’s had less work in the new system than Jason.
Again, I think we have a good issue here. We’re not going to let it be a negative or make it a negative. The bottom line here is we’ve got two guys we think can play. We’ll do what we think is best for our team. If we need to make a switch again down the road – we’re going to need them both, probably need all three of them before the year’s over with the way this league is. I like where we’re at.’’
For more Monday news and notes, see the previous post, Raiders points, yards don’t add up.