The Sad Reality Of The Oakland Raiders QB Competition

Elias TrejoSenior Analyst IIMarch 15, 2010

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 20:  Quarterback JaMarcus Russell #2 of the Oakland Raiders talks with Bruce Gradkowski #5 on the bench during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 20, 2009 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

There is a lot of buzz going around Raider Nation this offseason. It almost reminds me of the movie Twilight's buzz between Team Jacob and Team Edward, but in Raiders land its Team Bruce vs Team JaMarcus.

Cable has made it clear that it will be an open competition and he'll let the best man win. Exciting isn't it?

Well, not exactly if you look at the reality of the situation. Having two quarterbacks compete can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the quality of the two players.

The Raiders don't exactly have a Brett Favre vs Aaron Rodgers, or a Donovan McNabb vs Michael Vick. To be honest, I don't think they even have a Brady Quinn vs Kyle Orton at this point.

Neither JaMarcus Russell or Bruce Gradkowski have been proven starters in the league up to this point.

Gradkowski won the starting role in Tampa his rookie season, but was benched after a 3-8 start. He's only started 15 games in his career and has a 5-10 record as a starter.

He currently has a 53.3 career completion percentage and a 65.9 QB rating. He has a 15 TD to 16 INT ratio.

We didn't see enough of Gradkowski last year to really know what he brings to the table. Before last year, had a nine TD to 13 INT ratio, and only a 3-9 record as a starting QB.

Russell was drafted first overall in 2007, and has yet to live up to expectations. He sat out his rookie year and started his second season.

During his second season Russell had a 13 TD to eight INT ratio. He currently has a 7-19 record as a starter, which gives him the most wins for a Raider QB since they lost the Super Bowl to the Bucs in 2002.

He has a 52.1 completion percentage and a 65.2 QB rating for his career.

It hasn't been easy winning games for Raider QB's since 2002. Proven starters like Dante Culpepper, Kerry Collins, and Aaron Brooks have failed to win many games in the Silver & Black.

Now the Raiders go into camp with two quarterbacks who haven't won or proven they can win in this league up to this point.

Team JaMarcus supporters point out to his physical ability and potential, as well as the Raiders lack of talent around him. That talent is now emerging, and could help improve his game, if he wins the starting spot.

They also point to Gradkowski's average play throughout his career. Despite his heart, work ethic, and leadership, he's only been able to win five games as a starter, and has accumulated the same type of stats Russell has.

Team Bruce supporters point out to his heart, fire, and the way the offense looked in his three games. He has a winning record as a starter for the Raiders, even if its only 2-1.

You can't deny that the Raiders offense looked better after Russell was benched, but you also can't deny that Robert Gallery, Darren Mcfadden, and Chaz Schilens returning to the line up had something to do with it.

Regardless of the situation, Gradkowski took advantage of opportunity and ran with it. Unfortunately it only lasted three-and-a-half games; he was injured behind a weak offensive line unit.

They also point out to Russell's lack of production, his bad work ethic, and his inability to read coverages.

The Raiders must do something to improve their offensive line this offseason, if they want either QB to succeed. They head into the offseason with no official starting QB named.

The Raiders are putting their hopes of ending a seven year streak of losing 11 games or more, on the backs of two QB's that haven't been able to prove they can win in the league.

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