Last Sunday's home game against the Cincinnati Bengals was a nail biter and came down to the wire.Bruce Gradjowski got his first start after being claimed off the waiver wire by the Raiders at the beginning of the season.
Bruce started the game a little over excited and it led to a fumble by Bruce backing up from the center and not quite having full control of the football.
After that,Bruce clearly had good control of his offense.Bruce stood tall and looked comfortable in the pocket doing his check downs until finding the open receivers.Much of his success had a lot to do with the excellent Offensive line play.They gave Bruce plenty of time to find those open receivers.
JaMarcus,on the other hand,looked scittish or uncertain and never had the same "pocket presence".Often finding an open receiver,only to throw it in the dirt or over there heads.
Work Ethic is everything!
"I mean, they're here all the time," Cable stated. "They're here early. They're here late. They study. They watch film. They talk about it. They draw it up. They involve their teammates to a great degree. Just what you'd expect."
Tom Cable was referring to Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye,not JaMarcus Russell.
Bruce brings that " Commitment to Excellence" in his extra preparation.That's what it takes to be a QB in the NFL and JaMarcus should already know this,being paid 32 million dollars.
The team instantly had a new enthusiasm when notified that Bruce was going to start against Cincy.Why?His enthusiasm is contagious and the rest of the team feeds off of that.
Justin Fargas also feels it:
"One, a passion for the game, a love for the game that he shows in the way he plays, the way he calls plays," Fargas said. "The way he works on details of plays with players. That's the main thing I'm seeing with him. It's just, he's a get-after-it type of guy.
"You want to make a play for your quarterback, but when he shows that type of passion for the game, obviously guys are going to feed off it and try to give him that same effort."
Zach Miller also had this to say:
"Bruce gives us the best chance to win right now," Miller said. "He's obviously a pretty smart guy, reads things well, throws a real good ball. We feel like we'll be able to throw it around better now.
"He's a great quarterback. He goes through all his reads. He's been making the right decisions."
It is obvious that this Raiders team is ready to roll on Gradkomski's back.They have a new attitude and is ready to preform for this newly appointed QB who has dedicated his self to take over this offense.
The defense has new life knowing that they won't be on the field for 80% of the game no rest.
The Raiders and Gradkowski has a tough task ahead in going on the road for 4 out of the next five games.This week is a short one with Dallas Thursday and only a couple of days of rest and practice.
Greg Ellis is returning to his former team who let him go.I'm sure Greg will want to give Dallas reasons for being sorry for that decision.
Richard Seymour strained his back in the first qaurter of the Bengals game,But I think him and Ellis will have a big game against Dallas.
Keys to this game will be good offensive line play by the Raiders and give Gradkowski time to throw and do his check downs.The defense will have to be able to stop the run and limit Dallas no matter who runs the ball.
The Raiders have not won two in a row since last year.I think they get a win Thursday even though betting odds are giving the Raiders 13.5 against Dallas.
The Raiders should look at those odds and use it as bulletin board material.They should consider it as disrespectful and seek the gain that respect back.
The Raiders played Dallas in preseason and fared well with a victory against them,but that was preseason meaning nothing towards regular season wins.
Another key to the game will be to mirror what they did last week in limiting penalties on both sides of the ball.I was impressed Sunday that they improved that.It has been a much needed improvement for some time.
The Raiders have a tough schedule in there next five games,but if they can keep there QB healthy and upright,I think they can make a run at a winning streak.Let face it,it wasn't getting down with JaMarcus.
For JaMarcus to salvage his career,he will have to dedicate his self to being just like Bruce did in preparing to be able to step in and preform when needed.Putting in extra time in the film room,weight room,and the field.
JaMarcus now knows that and if Bruce was to get hurt and Russell is put in,he damn sure better be ready or It's over for him in Oakland,period.Oakland cannot afford to have such a high paid player under perform.
Bruce Gradkowski has been there and done that.He has a chance to take this responsiblity and roll with it.It's his job to lose.Bruce knows that these oppurtunities don't come along too often and the time is now.
Bruce.........Just Win Baby!