Solving A Few Bruce Gradkowski Myths

Antonio MatosCorrespondent IApril 10, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 22:  Bruce Gradkowski #5 of the Oakland Raiders throws the ball during their game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 22, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

I've read some of the articles about why Bruce Gradkowski isn't worthy or talented enough to start for the Raiders. I got curious today and decided to "debunk/question" the major three reasons.

"Bruce is too short, skinny, small, fragile, etc"

Let's compare his size to two different QB's

Gradkowski: 6'1'', 220lbs

Troy Smith: 6'0'', 225 lbs

Drew Brees: 6'0'', 209 lbs

Those against Gradkowski starting generally say Smith should be the starter in Oakland. Not much of a difference, since Gradkowski is one inch taller and Troy is five pounds heavier.

Wait a minute, this can't be right. Gradkowski is taller and heavier than the 2009 Superbowl MVP? Hmm, I guess size really doesn't matter.

I guess Brees shouldn't have gotten picked up by the Saints after the Chargers dropped him, since he doesn't fit the NFL size requirements.

Conclusion: Myth Debunked

"Gradkowski has a pea shooter, no arm strength, etc"

Let's take a look at 1:30 on this clip

From our 17 yard line to the opponent's 25 yard line in the air (58 yards). Murphy ran the other 25 yards to the end zone. What did you expect? An 83 yard TD bomb that would land in the end zone?

Gradkowski had enough "arm strength" to hit Murphy in stride, 58 yards through the air. More than adequate. How many times per game does a QB throw 60 yard bombs? Maybe two or three times a game. Keep in mind almost every throw in the video is a completion of 20-30 yards in the air.

Conclusion: Myth Debunked

And lastly, my favorite Myth:

"Gradkowski is a journey man QB, a backup at best, cut by three other teams, etc"

Well, here is a little history on those three teams and the situation in these cases.

He was drafted in the sixth round of the '06 draft, yet he posted the best rookie debut of all QB's drafted that year when he started in week five. His rookie year was pretty close to JR's '08 year, considering he didn't start until week five. 

Just a quick refresher, the Tampa Bay Bucs went 4-12 that season and their offense was ranked No. 31. Bruce's only weapon was Joey Galloway (35 years old then) with 1,067 yards & seven TD's. The best TE had 250 yards, he had two rookies on the OL, Cadillac Williams (RB) had one TD and the next best WR had 356 yards.

He was released after the '07 season and was picked up by the St. Louis Rams, who cut him before the first game. By the way, who are the Rams? Tied with the Lions for worst team in the NFL.

He was unlucky enough to be picked up by the Browns as a fourth string QB. He only saw action in the last game of the season after the other three QB's were injured. Yes, that's why his QB rating was 2.8 in '08. He was on the third worst team in the NFL, playing against the eventual Super Bowl champs after he was activated for the first time all season. He didn't even hold the clipboard, so what type of performance did you expect?

You know the story from there. Oakland picked him up, he beat Charlie Frye for the backup job and the rest is history.

It would have been different if he was cut by the Patriots, Colts and Eagles. They have a knack for talent and that would have been a sign. He was cut by the Browns, Rams and Bucs. They haven't had five wins or more since 2002? Their scouting department is horrid. The Browns cut their "future" QB's, the Rams are hoping to draft one this year and the Bucs picked up Josh Freeman. It's still evident they can't scout a QB.

Conclusion: Myth Debunked

Aside from his rookie year, Gradkowski didn't get any significant playing time until last year. He hasn't gotten his chance to prove why he is starting QB material. Let's stop jumping to conclusions and give the man a fair chance to win the job. At the very least, he has deserved that much.