Bruce Gradkowski celebrating after Oakland's first win of the 2010 season
With now an apparent quarterback controversy in Oakland (what else is new,) it's hard to tell if the Raiders are in a Catch-22 (damned if you do, damned if you don't) type of situation or if this newly born competition will spark a fire under the butts of Bruce Gradkowski and Jason Campbell. Let's look at the resume of the prospects.
After redshirting in 2001 at Toledo, Gradkowski saw action only as the holder on the special teams unit the following season. In 2003, he became the starting quarterback as a sophomore. Gradkowski set a conference season record by completing 71.2% of his passes. He threw for 3,210 yards, with a school season record of 29 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.He proved he could scramble by rushing for 504 yards and a score on 91 carries (5.5 avg). In 2004, Gradkowski passed for 3518 yards with 27 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He was named MVP of the 2004 GMAC bowl.
Jason Campbell went on to play college at Auburn. As a starter he had a different offensive coordinator every year (a theme that has plagued his entire football career.) He would find success in his senior year when he led the Tigers to an undefeated season in 2004 and was named SEC Player of the Year. Campbell also was named MVP of the SEC Championship game. Campbell held the record for the longest touchdown completion in Auburn football history with an 87 yard pass (the record was broken in 2009 with Chris Todd's 93 yard completion.)
Who should be under center againist the Cardinals?
With the 194th pick in sixth round of the 2006 draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Bruce Gradkowski. Five weeks into the season, Gradkowski became the starter due to injury to Chris Simms. He started off and on for the Bucs the next two seasons, going 3-8. He was waived by Tampa in 2008. He would then make stops in St. Louis and Cleveland before making his was to Oakland, in which he has gone 7-3 with seven touchdowns to his three picks.
Highly touted out of Auburn, Jason Campbell was a first round pick by Washington Redskins. The Redskins thought he was so talented, they traded a first and fourth round pick in 2006 to move up to the 25th spot of the draft. In four seasons, Campbell was given a different offensive coordinator each year and never thrived under any of them, going 20-32 in his career with the 'skins. He was traded to Oakland in 2010 for a fourth round draft choice in 2012. A fourth round pick is half what the Redskins traded up to get him back in 2006.
In the two games of 2010, Campbell has played a game and a half, while Gradkowski has played half a game. In that time, Campbell has one loss (almost two had Bruce not saved the day) and two interceptions with a total of 267 yards. Gradkowski has one win, one touchdown and 162 yards.
Historically, Gradkowski's resume may not add up to Campbell's but recently it has. Even last year I could see the fire and intensity he has in the huddle and on the field. I've seen him smack offensive lineman that was twice his size in the helmet for missing a blocking assignment. He's the leader, guns-slinging type quarterback the Raiders need under center.
I don't see this from Campbell. I see a gifted athlete without a lot of confidence and doesn't command his presence from his team. Two attributes a successful NFL quarterback absolutely need.
I feel bad for Campbell, I now it's a new system and his first few games but the Raiders can't fool around like they did with JaMarcus Russel. All that is invested in Campbell, really, is fourth round pick two years from now.
I say let Big Bruce loose and give the unknown a shot. The Raiders have made a living off of quarterbacks that are rough, castaways, like Gradkowski, and turned them into the hero. Maybe it's Gradkowski's time.
(Like this? More like it, including this on KeffSports.com, http://www.keffsports.com/?p=287&cpage=1#comment-28)