When the Raiders grow up, they want to be the New York Jets.
Or at least somewhat like the Jets.
First-year Raiders coach Hue Jackson worked on the Baltimore Ravens staff for a season with Rex Ryan before both ascended to head coaching jobs, Jackson in Oakland and Ryan in New York.
"I'm not Rex, and Rex is not Hue, but I'm sure we have a lot of similarities," Jackson said. "We believe in violent, physical, tough, aggressive football teams. And I'm going to build it here. I didn't tell you it was going to happen overnight, but I am going to build it."
Jackson has talked of "building a bully," while Ryan's mantra is to "play like a Jet."
The key, Ryan said, is to create a persona and a style of play.
"I was just myself when I came here and I'm fortunate to have a lot of excellent coaches with me. It's just something we believed, it's a style. I have one shot to be a head coach in this league and I was going to build it a certain way.
"Whether it's building a bully or playing like a Jet, whatever it is, this is who's coming in. This is our football team and how we play, and I guess that's kind of our trademark of how we play. We're a passionate football team, from snap to whistle."
While Ryan has built a roster of players he likes and weeded out some that don't fit his vision, Jackson is in the early stages of his attempt to make the Raiders a feared, physical team.
"We have some tremendous young players here and I think we're getting better each and every day," Jackson said. "But again, it's a process. He's in year three of his process. I'm in year one of mine."
Jackson is looking forward to competing for a man he once thought he might work for.
"We always talked about if he got a job maybe I'd have an opportunity to work for him," Jackson said. "Rex is an unbelievable personality and a true football man, totally understands the game, loves the game, very passionate and strong-willed about winning.
"He has some characteristics that I love. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the football coach he is and what he's going to bring to the stadium Sunday."
--Has Jason Campbell arrived?
The next few weeks should tell the tale.
Campbell may have had the best game of his career in a 38-35 loss to the Buffalo Bills, although the end result was thoroughly unsatisfying.
"You win that game, everyone says, 'Oh, what a great comeback,'" Campbell said. "You lose, and shove it out the window. That's pretty much how it is."
The Raiders didn't win it of course, but not for lack of effort from Campbell.
In a game in which running back Darren McFadden was slowed to a trickle (9 carries, 21 yards in the second half), Campbell carried the offense with his right arm. He completed 14 of 19 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns, a 12-yard swing pass to McFadden and a 50-yard strike at the goal line to rookie Denarius Moore.
For the game, Campbell was 23 of 33 for 323 yards and the two scores.
When the Bills took the lead for the last time, Campbell had only 14 seconds left and still managed to make a 56-yard heave into the end zone that Moore nearly came down with. Instead, Da'Norris Searcy of the Bills secured the leaping interception to end the game.
"The ultimate goal was to win it, but there were a lot of positives to take from that game," Campbell said. "The Bills were stopping our run a little bit and it created opportunities in our passing game.
"You see guys like Denarius and Derek Hagan out there making plays and it's exciting to see that we're not just a run-oriented offense. Maybe we can pass, maybe we run. The guys have to be ready any time because we'll call plays based on how the game is going."
Last year entering Week 3, then-offensive coordinator Hue Jackson recommended to former coach Tom Cable that Bruce Gradkowski be the starter. Gradkowski played in the second half of a 16-14 win over St. Louis in Week 2, also on Jackson's recommendation.
Jackson is singing a different tune a year later.
"Jason Campbell is as fine a quarterback as there is in the league," Jackson said. "But his true measure is going to be winning and losing games. We've got a very good opponent in our stadium and he's got to go play well."
Whether Campbell is "as fine a quarterback as there is in the league" is open for debate, although over his last seven games, the seven-year veteran's passer rating is an excellent 97.3.
Campbell has a 4-3 won-loss record in those games, which began when Gradkowski separated a shoulder and was no longer a factor. In two of those losses, Campbell has led the offense to 66 points, while the Raiders have given up 75.
The next three games give Campbell an opportunity to prove Jackson right, as the Raiders host the Jets and Patriots, followed with a road assignment in Houston. Through the first two weeks, none of those teams has lost a game.
Jets coach Rex Ryan said he remembers Campbell from his workout at Auburn when "he was sitting on a knee and threw the ball 60 yards. He has that kind of arm talent. He's got mobility and he's been in the league for a long time. He's at his best right now. This is probably the best I've seen of Jason Campbell."
One thing Campbell has going for him with the Raiders in Year 2 is continuity. Jackson, the offensive coordinator last year, is still his play-caller. Al Saunders, the new offensive coordinator, worked with Campbell in Washington.
It has put Campbell into a teaching role with many of the skill-position players, and allowed him to take a leadership role. He has been in command through two games, getting the Raiders out of bad plays, working the clock expertly and having things under control.
"A lot of it has to do with having some of the same guys last year, the center, myself, some of the offensive line, the running backs," Campbell said. "We're doing a lot of the same things we did a year ago. You're not thinking about it, it's more reactive."
It's helped that the Raiders have given Campbell terrific protection. He's been sacked only once in two games and had plenty of time to throw the vertical passes the Raiders consider a big part of their offense.
Samson Satele returns at center, as does left tackle Jared Veldheer and right guard Cooper Carlisle. The right tackle, Khalif Barnes, played in power packages last season as a tight end and at tackle.
"The more we keep him clean, the more comfortable he is, the better he is as a quarterback," center Samson Satele said.
38th regular-season meeting. Raiders lead series, 20-15-2. The Jets won the last meeting in Oakland on Oct. 25, 2009, 38-0 as Shonn Greene rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns and Thomas Jones rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown. The last Raiders win was 16-13 in 2008 when Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 57-yard field goal with 2:30 left in overtime. Jets quarterback Brett Favre threw two interceptions. The Raiders didn't turn the ball over.
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