Gradkowski turning up the intensity


The Raiders have ditched even-keeled for energy and passion.

It won’t matter if Bruce Gradkowski can’t complete passes with any greater frequency than JaMarcus Russell, but it sounds as if the presence of a new quarterback has picked up the tempo during practice this week.

When asked what Gradkowski brought to the huddle, running back Justin Fargas was quick to answer Friday.

“One, a passion for the game, a love for the game that he shows in the way he plays, the way he calls plays. The way he works on details of nplays with players, in between,” Fargas said. “I think that’s the main thing I’m seeing with him. It’s just, he’s a `get after it’ type guy.”

Gradkowski has the boundless enthusiasm of a puppy to go along with a penchant for details which the Raiders hope can jump-start their sagging offense.

“You want to make a play for your quarterback but when he shows that type of passion for the game, obviously guys are going to feed off it and try to give him that same effort,” Fargas said.

“Bruce gives us the best chance to win right now,” tight end Zach Miller said. “We’ve got to be out there and play better football than we have the last few games here.”

Coach Tom Cable noted an increase in completions during practice

“Bruce was very good this week in terms of going out and managing and throwing completions,” Cable said. “ I think that got everybody in rhythm in timing.”

Miller agreed.

“He’s obviously a pretty smart guy, reads things well, throws a real good ball,” Cable said. “He’s a pro quarterback, so they’re all good. We feel like we’ll be able to throw it around better now.”

Gradkowski’s abilty to keep things alive when a play breaks down will keep the Raiders on their toes.

“He’s a different type of quarterback,” running back Darren McFadden said. “You can’t give up on the play when you’re out there with him. He may start scrambling and then all of a sudden just heave the ball to you, so you have to be prepared and ready all the time.”

Said Miller: “He’s definitely mobile. As receivers you’ve got to be able to adjust and be ready if the pocket breaks down, that he’ll be able to scramble and find you downfield. Receivers have to make that adjustment.”

Running back Michael Bush and wide receiver Chaz Schilens were concentrating on taking care of their own business to give Gradkowski the best chance to be successful.

“I hope it does, any time you make a big switch like that. I mean, regardless of who was starting at that spot, we’re hoping to come in, stick to our game plan and do what we’re supposed to do.”

“You really just have to go with who’s out there, be quick about it, make the adjustment, whatever that may be, and move forward with it,” Schilens said.

Cable post-practice

— WR Nick Miller, WR Javon Walker and LB Ricky Brown did not practice and are out. LB Isaiah Ekejiuba and DE Greg Ellis were limited and are expected to play. Cable said Ellis is in line to start.

— No change in kick returners. It will be Johnnie Lee Higgins on punts, Jonathan Holland on kickoffs.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Chris in NY

    The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    November 20th, 2009 at 4:30 pm
    Considering Gradowski (I’d make a better effort to spell his name if he were going to be in the league after this year…) will be given a better playbook, the only way I’m convinced he’s better than russell is if he puts up Brett Favre numbers Sunday. He’s being given an advantage. Russell was stuck with a playbook that Al wrote with a crayon when he was a teachers aid at the Citadel.


    That’s bullsh-t. There’s no reason to think the playbook will be changed for Gradkowski. Why on earth would the Raiders intentionally set JaMarcus up to fail — their No.1 overall pick who they have $60 mil invested in — with a sh-t playbook and then break out the good stuff 10 games into the season for Gradkowski? Makes no sense. Just a way for you to pre-empt any success Gradkowski may have and make more excuses for JaMarcus.

    Now Gradkowski has to put up Hall of Famer numbers against a defense that just ate Roethlisberger’s lunch for the 2nd time this season? Ridiculous.

  • Raiders4eve

    # KoolKell Says:
    November 20th, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Then How did Russell come to top everybody’s draft list?

    Hey cuz, JR was hyped ever since he was in high school, I believe he went to the best high school in Alabama, then got recruited to LSU, look at the games he struggled in College, he played against those colleges that implemented NFL caliber defenses like Florida, Tenn etc. He had only 16 games or less games as college player, a junior with strong arm, it is usually hit or miss with those kind of QBs. QBs with less experience and huge potential. Something similar to Locker this year what I call one year wonder. Problem was we need a QB and the only two choices was Brady Quinn weak hands and JR strong arm with more wins and a win against Brady Quinn.

  • # KoolKell Says:
    November 20th, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Then How did Russell come to top everybody’s draft list?

    Because of his arm strength and athleticism.

    He was always considered a project but because of his attributes he had(has?)a huge POTENTIAL upside.

    Russell has not taken it seriously. His athleticism and strong arm was enough to get by at LSU and he thinks that is enough now. No matter how many people tell him it takes more than that to be a successful QB in the NFL, Russell just keeps doing his thing.

    Lots of strong arm guys have went belly up in the NFL because they think the strength is enough.

  • Raiders4eve

    Chris in NY Says:
    November 20th, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    There’s no reason to think the playbook will be changed for Gradkowski.

    True, but here is what I think will happen. Grad is a WCO system player, no way is coach Cable going to throw the ball deep the way he used JR. JR struggled in his short passes 5 and 10 yards clearly overthrow wide open receivers. Grad wont miss those passes, therefore Cable will call it more often which will make it seem we are running a WCO system. The reason Cable called more vertical passes with JR is bceause AL wanted it and he couldnt throw short passes. So only option was go deep. With Grad he can’t go deep cause he has lacks the strong arm that JR has. Therefore, playcalling will change but not the play book

  • People say all this WCO stuff and the playbook change.

    Did anyone see the second SD game? After the first drive, did Russell throw one pass farther than 10 yards down the field? I’m sure he threw one or two but I don’t remember. It was a dink and dunk fest.

    Bruce is going to run an NFL style offense. And the D will respect him a whole helluva lot more than Russell.

  • jmeds

    Gradowski may have cooked these last few years and is ready to be an NFL qb. If we had a qb that sees the entire field we may be sitting in the hunt for the afc west. Russell has set us back. he is just not ready to commit to the NFL. To do so would take away from his “life” as he calls it. The NFL and the Raiders should be his life.

  • jerryelisabeth

    DT42 Says:
    November 20th, 2009 at 2:17 pm
    Going to the SuperBowl and losing means you are “first loser”.

    Actually, that makes you the last loser 🙂

  • Why can’t Gradkowski go deep?

    Can he throw the ball 40 yards? With Oakland’s o-line you won’t get 7 seconds to let a receiver get 70 yards down field.

    Just because Gradkowski can’t throw it 70 yards doesn’t mean he can’t go deep. Not many 70 yard patterns in the playbook anyway.

  • VanHeathen

    If Grads can look right and come back and throw left, we will be way ahead of where we’ve been this season. As soon as JR turned to a side of the field, KC DB’s abandoned their coverage and went to that side fo the field, no fear of him coming back to their side, leaving guys wide open.
    That’s what extra work would do for JR, let’s all hope he ‘gets it’…

  • Seemed to me Bruce overthrew Murphy deep last week, and that ball was thrown deep enough to be behind the defense.

  • I just saw a Southwick on the Boise State sideline. Someone alert BSJ

  • Einstein

    JaBlowHole is finished as a starting NFL QB. Our Raiders have been a complete joke since the Superbowl, so the fact that he can’t make it with us, just proves he won’t be able to make it with anyone.

  • JaMarcus Russell didn’t just fall off the turnip truck into Al Davis’ inept hands, ok?


  • JR started 2 years at LSU, started 2 games his rookie season, and played descent last year. He is still developing, but the Raiders are not helping him.
    Bad Oline, Rookie WRs, rookie WRs Coach, Rookie HC & play caller, and a bad run defense are not helping him develop.

  • This is f’d up! Funny, but so f’d up man…


  • Then How did Russell come to top everybody’s draft list?
    same way Leinert & Quinn did.

  • HyphyRaidaFan

    Nice article 4evaRaider…….

  • NorthernD

    RaiderTW Says:
    November 20th, 2009 at 8:52 pm
    Then How did Russell come to top everybody’s draft list?
    same way Leinert & Quinn did.
    The one thing they always say at the draft is that you never know how someone will react when you pay them 30 million in cash.
    Apparently JaMarcus spent it on fur coats, diamond coated watch bands and 1000 carat earrings. No need to focus on football anymore, his working days are over…
    I think Brett Favre spent his cash on a new pair of Wranglers.
    When Barry Sanders got his first cheque, he bought a used jeep.
    I’m sure Ray Lewis would strap it up if you bought him dinner after the game. Some guys play for the love of the sport, not the paycheque.


    NEW POST..

  • Trolls 35 Raiders 0

    Are you guys 👿 going to let this guy 😳 get away with this ❓

    I’m a long-time Chargers fan and I hate the Raiders regardless of their record; I give their organization no respect (as Davis is the devil). The more Oakland body parts (players and fans) I see on the field after the game, the better. Have you ever been to Oakland? It’s an armpit: The city and the Raiders deserve each other.

    On the other hand, I must say that I’ve really come to enjoy the San Diego-Denver rivalry. A rivalry, however, doesn’t imply hatred. I respect the Broncos and have no hatred towards their team. Besides, while Oakland is an armpit, Denver — like San Diego — is a nice city. I am really looking forward to this Sunday’s game; I know it’ll be a good one and, frankly, if it wasn’t taken off the Vegas board I’m sure it’d be a pick-em.
    Doug G
    Joined: Sep 15
    Points: 230 Permanent link to this commentDoug G (aka ) | 7:27 PM on Friday Nov 20

  • srosa

    Stay out of the stadium. Go to the parking lot and hangout and stay outside. Show Al that we are tired of his antiquated ways and his tyrannical grip on the team. How can Al not realize that we have become the worst franchise in sports because of his doing? I know that he is a hall of famer and a legend. But it is time for him to move his office out to a different spot and bring in someone to run the organization. Hire a good coach and let him coach. Bring in a scouting department and let them choose players. Get the “yes” men out of the building and bring in people that will work hard and hold each other accountable. I miss the Raiders being relevant and fun to watch. Please give us our team back!