NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Quarterback Jason Campbell's debut could not prevent the Raiders from losing an eighth straight season opener.
Did he enhance Sunday's Music City Massacre?
It is easy to spread blame when a team is whipped 38-13, as the Raiders were by the Tennessee Titans.
But this was our first look at Campbell, and he did not make a good first impression. He played like a losing quarterback, emblematic of his hapless supporting cast.
"Obviously we're not proud of how we played today," Campbell said. "We take our hats off to Tennessee. They were more detailed today than we were and more physical."
No way can the Raiders do this every Sunday and avoid an eighth straight season of 11 or more defeats. They need to pose at least a minimal scoring threat, and that comes down to Campbell running -- and inspiring -- the offense better.
Nothing about Campbell's game made you think the Raiders are destined for a turnaround, which has been the hope since he arrived in an April trade from the Washington Redskins.
Don't get the idea that he alone caused Sunday's mess. He only added to it, along with his cruddy blockers, invisible wide receivers and a wilting Raiders defense that remains haunted by inept safeties.
Campbell is not the aloof, unaccountable soul that was last season's opening-loss starter, JaMarcus Russell. But Campbell ran an offense that looked as feeble as it did under the discarded Russell.
"The offense, they were doing a lot of yelling," cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said of the locker-room scene at halftime. "Defensively we were playing OK, they were just getting a couple big plays, and that's what was hurting us, so it wasn't a matter of changing anything we were doing. It was just executing the plays."
The Raiders' shoddy offensive line made Campbell a dead duck from the outset. He was sacked three times in the first three series, and the turtle-esque offense crawled into a shell.
Campbell went from a pedestrian performer to a panicked one.
The Raiders' offense is a relatively young one that failed to undergo an extreme makeover from last season, aside from the arrival of Campbell and offensive coordinator Hue Jackson.
"We have to play the game in a mode that does not allow us to be in third-and-long so much," Raiders coach Tom Cable said. "We were (0 for 7) in the first half on third downs, and it really showed in terms of being able to stay on the field, extend drives.
"The opportunity to score is never going to be there if you're off on third down all the time."
There were culprits all across the offensive line, most notably left tackle Mario Henderson, or as we may have to call him, Mari(uh)o Henderson.
But we're familiar with Henderson and the offensive line. We knew they were vulnerable. We needed to learn about Campbell, and these were his numbers:
Throw in a few batted-down passes, awkward slides short of the first-down marker and still more oddities.
Campbell simply did not find a smooth rhythm, unless you think tons of check-down passes will make this offense the envy of the NFL.
Said Campbell: "It's tough. A lot of our plays are designed to go downfield. It makes it a lot harder, those guys getting a good (pass) rush the way they did. Sometimes you just check it down."
The Raiders can't have a quarterback obsessed with check-down passes. Campbell needs to play better if he is going to truly lead by example.