When the Oakland Raiders acquired Jason Campbell, head coach Tom Cable said he wouldn’t be handed the starting QB job, he’d have to earn it. I remember hearing that and thought it was a joke, Campbell was clearly head and shoulders above any other quarterback on the Raiders roster. What it did was show that the coaching staff was high on Bruce Gradkowski’s performance down the stretch and make sure Campbell would fight for his new team.
As training camp approaches one has to wonder if there is still a battle for the position. Gradkowski tore his pectoral muscle lifting weights a while back and was just recently cleared to begin light throwing. While Campbell has had plenty of time to work one on one with new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson. That has had to give Jason the lead in any competition.
There’s one Raiders ‘ beat writer, Jerry McDonald of the Oakland Tribune who is doubtful that there is a real competition for the job. Today he addressed the QB position in his Raiders training camp questions and wrote an excellent post about Gradkowski.
McDonald gave Bruce lots of credit, mainly for being a catalyst to last years dreadful Raiders team and that he was one of the reasons they finished 5-11 instead of 2-14. And you know what it’s true. While his numbers may not of been great, they were definitely respectable for a team that didn’t have too much to work with.
Near the end of the piece thou McDonald made a great point thou, Gradkowski is the type of backup you want on your team, key word being backup. He can come off the bench when your starter is struggling and give an offense some life. He can come of the bench in time of injury and lead the team.
Unfortunately he just doesn’t have that “it” that would make him an every week starter in the NFL, especially when you have a talent like Jason Campbell on the roster.
By no means do I think Campbell is a star but the guy has never been given a fair chance to show his worth. He’s played under different offensive coordinators almost every year in his career, and the 2010-11 season will be no different. And what does he have to show for it? Some pretty damn good numbers, I’d say.
Over his career he has a 82.3 QB rating, which has risen ever year with last year being a career high 86.4. In 2009-10 he also threw for 20 touchdowns with 3600+ yards and a 64.5 completion percentage, all career highs. If he can get in a stable system, with some talent around him, he could potentially blossom into a playoff QB.
The key there being a stable system, which Oakland is not. When remembering that I’d have to agree with McDonald it is doubtful that Gradkowski can compete for the starting QB job but it is Oakland.
Anything is possible.