Should The Raiders Start Gradkowski?

D.J. O'ConnorSenior Analyst IIIMarch 9, 2010

PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 06:  Bruce Gradkowski #5 of the Oakland Raiders runs with the ball during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 6, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

  On March 15, the Oakland Raiders begin their team off-season workouts and there will be one question (at least) on everybody's mind...Who should our QB be?  The Raiders have not been bringing in any free agents so far; but with Jake Delhomme still out there who knows?  When the 2009 season ended, almost everybody assumed that JaMarcus Russell would be the starter again; they also thought that Tom Cable was on the highway out of town. 

     So should the Raiders start Gradkowski?  A better question would be why shouldn't he start? 

     The anti-Grad crowd has cited his injuries and a "weak arm".  I consider the "weak arm" excuse the "death panels" of Gradkowski.  I think it is too stupid to be a serious arguement.  But if you think Gradkowski has a weak arm--watch this.

     That video proves Gradkowski CAN get the ball downfield on one play.  Not that JaMarcus Russell can't, but we saw Russell throw 11INTs, lose several fumbles and only throw 3 TDs.  And if you ask me... I'd rather see a drive of short passes lead to a TD 2 or 3 times a week than once in a blue moon have a ball go 50 yards for a TD!

     Another arguement.  Gradkowski is injury prone.  Yes, he got hurt after 3 games, but is that his fault?  All Raiders fans can agree that the offensive line needs a makeover as bad as a drag queen.  Every QB will get hurt after enough hits, even Russell missed some plays in his time here.  Maybe thats why Russell doesn't want to lose weight, his body is his own cushion.

     Another arguement:  Russell was drafted to be the face of the franchise.  That was in 2007, what has he done for the Raiders since his little winning streak to end 2008.  Is his contract the reason he must be the Raider savior.  I believe in playing the players who win games, not the players with the large paychecks.  And why can't Gradkowski be the face of the franchise?  Give me a good reason why. 

     Another arguement:  Russell is hated because he is black!  I have heard this brought up by a few writers here and there points are that no black QB has succeeded in the NFL.  I'm sure they are ignoring Michael Vick and Donavan McNabb.  To make this simple, I want Gradkowski to start because of his stats, not skin!  He won 2 games in 3 starts.  Russell won 2 games in 9 starts (I'll give him credit for the Denver win so let's say Russell won 3 of 10.) 

     Last arguement:  Gradkowski only survives because of his feet.  Is that a problem?  I think that a mobile QB is a nice thing to have.  It will force defenses to keep linebackers in spy zones instead of blitzing a pocket QB like Russell. 

     Marcus Allen once said: "It doesn't matter how it's done, there's never going to be an asterisk(*) that says it was done in an artistic way, it's going to say touchdown." 

     That is what it all comes down to on Sunday.  Which team scored more TDs, and Gradkowski was able to throw 6 TDs in 3 games while Russell threw 3 during more than half the season.  Russell can throw deep, but Gradkowski can complete the ball and move the chains and he can just win baby!  And Gradkowski has what Russell doesn't: a commitment to excellence!  Gradkowski wants to win and win badly while Russell seems to get over a loss in the time it takes to get from the field to the post-game conference.