Bruce Gradkowski Named Oakland Raiders Starter
Oakland Raiders head coach Tom Cable did not make the right call in benching quarterback Jason Campbell and naming Bruce Gradkowski the starter for Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals.
"The reasons are pretty simple," Cable said. "First and foremost is the energy and the level of intensity that was brought into the huddle when Gradkowski came into the game. The way the guys responded around him. And, obviously, scoring points".
Campbell had completed 8-of-15 passes for 87 yards, but was sacked twice and threw an interception, resulting in a quarterback rating of 42.9, when he was replaced with the Raiders trailing 7-3 at halftime against the Rams.
Gradkowski came in and gave the Raiders offense a spark. He completed six of his first nine passes and led the Raiders to two scoring drives. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski hit a 41-yard field goal and a four-yard touchdown pass to Louis Murphy in his first two series.
The decision to go with Gradkowski did not sit well with Raiders owner Al Davis. He had raved over Campbell's skills at quarterback after he had been acquired from the Washington Redskins for a fourth-round pick in April and later signed to a $4.1 million contract extension.
Cable's job is on the hotseat as the Raiders offense continues to struggle, especially in its first two games of the season.
After going with Gradkowski, Cable might not last the end of the season if his starting pick does not win games.
"This was handled by us coaches," Cable said. "It ultimately rested at my feet, and when we made the decision it comes from me".
Style of Play
The two quarterbacks have completely different styles of play. Campbell is more of a classic, drop-back, strong-armed passer, while Gradkowski is more of a scrambler who can make plays on the run.
The Oakland offense is cemented on running the football. They are currently third in the NFL in yards per game.
Gradkowski is an injury proned quarterback. He suffered two season-ending knee injuries, tore a pectoral muscle, then watched Oakland cut former No. one draft pick JaMarcus Russell before signing Campbell.
Why Start Gradkowski Now?
It has only been two games. Campbell is in his first season as the Raiders quarterback. He cannot become great overnight. It takes time, and he deserves a chance to learn the system.
If a quarterback has to worry about being benched the first time he makes a mistake, how can he expect to ever succeed.
The Raiders travel to Arizona this week with Gradkowski getting the nod. The Cardinals defense is horrendous against the pass, and it would be a perfect time for Cable to let Campbell run the system.
The quarterback position is never certain in Oakland nor is the head coach. Gradkowski has to look over his shoudlers every time he makes a mistake. Campbell will eventually see time again this season, especially if Cable wants to keep his job.
The Raiders will improve this season, but they are not a playoff team with either quarterback.
The AFC West is horrible, and they can finish as high as second this season, but the AFC as whole is far too talented.