Jamarcus Russell vs. Bruce Gradkwoski: Who Should Start?
Tom Cable has made it official that Jamarcus Russell and Bruce Gradkowski will compete for the Oakland Raiders' starting quarterback spot.
I have asked my alternate personality to engage in a Good Cop vs. Bad Cop argument to see who really should be the starter for the Raiders.
Each QB will be looked at and will be praised as well as grilled. I hope you enjoy, and get a laugh or two in the process of, reading this article.
Good Cop: Jamarcus Russell
Russell was drafted to be the future of the franchise. Unfortunately, the franchise forgot the formula for developing a young QB.
I'm pretty sure nothing in the correct formula has anything written about two head coaches, five play callers, and a weak O line in the first two years. Also, no team would ever want to start two rookie WRs during a young QB's crucial make or break season, right?
Russell has talent, there is no question about that, and late in the 2008 season he showed flashes of his potential. He finished the last five games of the season with a better QB rating than Joe Flacco or Matt Ryan.
Russell last year had two father figures pass away before the season started, and for a young 24-year-old kid, that isn't easy.
He also had Tom Cable calling plays on offense. If you think that wasn't part of the problem, then why did Al Davis fire Cable as the offensive coordinator?
Chaz Schilens, Russell's favorite WR, missed every game Russell started, except his last one. Mcfadden missed six weeks, all while Russell was starting. Robert Gallery, the best O lineman on a weak unit, missed eight games all while Russell was starting.
So let's give Russell the benefit of the doubt here; last year was bad and couldn't really get any worse. It's only up hill from here. With a better O line and with his WRs having more experience, he should have a much better season.
Sometimes we forget that this talented kid is only 24 years old.
Bad Cop: Jamarcus Russell?
Give Russell the benefit of the doubt? By year three most QBs have it together, and this guy doesn't have anything together. His work ethic is constantly in question, and that isn't what you want to hear about a starting QB. Not in this league, and not on the Raiders.
Al Davis has provided him with some great QB coaches, and nothing is working. Who cares if Russell had two rookies starting at WR, it's not like they weren't getting open, or couldn't catch the ball...
Who cares if Mcfadden missed games; what has he done while he was playing anyways? You can't be mad if Gallery missed games either; that isn't even a valid excuse. Gallery was a bust, anyways. You can't blame Russell's bust season on another bust not being able to play.
This is a grown man's league, and you gotta go out there and perform. If this was American Idol, Simon would be hating on Russell all day.
He's been in the league three years; what about him says he's going to be a good starter? Have you seen it? The talent that he has is harder to find on the field than Waldo is on a Where's Waldo puzzle.
He looks more like a Ryan Leaf than he does a Peyton Manning right now.
Good Cop: Bruce Gradkwoski
If the Raiders had more guys like Gradkowski on their roster, we wouldn't be in this position. What he lacks in physical ability he makes up for with his heart and football smarts.
He's a gym rat and a film rat. He knows what it takes to be a QB in this league. Did you see him when he played? He made the Raiders offense look like a normal offense. He put up some really good numbers, too. He helped beat the Bengals, Steelers, and almost beat the Chiefs.
Gradkowski is an awesome story in the league, and he has what it takes to lead the Raiders to the promised land. He's 2-1 as a starter, and I think he threw more TD passes than Russell did in half the time on the field.
The Raiders looked like a better team with Gradkowski than they did with Russell. It's that simple. Gradkowski is a real football player, and he is a great leader.
He helped spark the Raiders offense and made them a contender. There is no reason he shouldn't be starting next year.
Bad Cop: Bruce Gradkowski?
Bruce Gradkowski? You can't be serious? Have the Raiders really been that bad, that Gradkowski is their savior? This would make a perfect joke on ESPN.
Trey WIngo: Hey Adam, what happens to a QB when he gets cut from the Rams, Browns, and the Bucs?
Adam Schefter: Canadian League?
Trey Wingo: Close, he starts for the Raiders!
I'm a little confused: The guy has a career QB rating of 65.9, and a completion percentage of 53.3? How is that a good thing? The dude had one good game against the Steelers, and the other two he was average at best, and now he has done enough to be the starter?
What about his knees? How can a guy play behind a healthier O line than Russell and blow both his knees out? Isn't he more mobile than Russell? Bad knees at 26 isn't a good thing.
Gradkowski was put in at the right time. Of course his numbers were better than Russell's; he had Gallery, Schilens, and Mcfadden back. Also, Cable decided to play Johnnie Lee Higgins more when Gradkowski played. So having experienced receivers helped also.
Did anyone watch the Thanksgiving game? What happened to our offense?
One game made his stats look a lot better than they were. The game before, and the half he played after, are a more accurate showing of what Gradkowski will be.
Here is a disturbing stat for all of you. His career QB rating is only 0.07 more than Russell's, and his completion percentage is 1.2 points higher than Russell's. How does this qualify him as a better starter than Russell?
Russell has played in more games and still has pretty much the same numbers as Gradkowski? Instead of looking at three games, or last season only, we should look at their entire body of work in their careers. Neither QB has really done anything to cement them as the starter for the Raiders.