Part of the Bay Area News Group

Is Gradkowski a Gannon . . . or a Hollas?

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, December 11th, 2009 at 6:28 pm in Oakland Raiders.

The Raiders once had a fiery quarterback typecast as a backup who went on a surprising run of victories under coach Jon Gruden.

A year later, Rich Gannon arrived.

Bruce Gradkowski has breathed some life back into the Raiders, winning over fans and teammates with his energy, quick feet and a knack for producing in the two-minute drill.

It’s drawn comparisons with Gannon, which Gradkowski addressed Thursday, correctly noting it was far too soon to put him anywhere near the level of a quarterback who delivered three consecutive division titles, an AFC championship and a Most Valuable Player award.

It’s also entirely possible, although not nearly as optimistic, that once teams begin zeroing in on Gradkowski with specific game plans, he might not be quite the operator he’s been through two of his three starts in Oakland.

Consider the case of Donald Hollas.

In 1998, Gruden’s first year with the Raiders, Hollas won the job as backup quarteback to Jeff George, with veteran Wade Wilson at No. 3.

George went down with a serious groin injury in Week 3, with Hollas taking over at quarterback. Relying heavily on its defense, and Hollas running a fairly conservative offense, the Raiders won road games in Dallas and Arizona and escaped with a 7-6 win over San Diego when Hollas was ineffective and Wade Wilson emerged to throw a 68-yard touchdown pass to James Jett with 1:28 to play.

Hollas went back in the lineup and the Raiders beat Cincinnati 27-10 and Seattle 31-18.

In the Seahawks game, Holllas completed 12 of 22 passes for 237 yards, at one point standing up in the face of a murderous rush and throwing a 47-yard strike to Jett on a post. It was his best game as a pro. Following a 13-10 loss to Baltimore, Hollas beat future Hall of Famer Warren Moon for the second time in three weeks, completing 20 of 31 passes for 266 yards (with a pair of interceptions).

At that point, Hollas (including the San Diego game, which was won on Wilson’s pass to Jett) had started seven games and won six. You want Gruden’s biggest achievement as Raiders coach? That might be it. Friendly and soft-spoken off the field, Hollas on occasion would openly argue with Gruden during games.

Hollas’ star dimmed considerably afterward.

The Raiders lost big in Denver, with George deemed healthy enough to start against the Redskins the following week _ whiich coincidentally is the last time Washington has played in Oakland. George looked slow and unsure of himself in the first half and Hollas replaced him in the second half of a 29-19 loss in a game in which the Raiders were favored.

When Hollas came in to start the second half, the Coliseum crowd roared with approval.

Miami came to town next, and it was a nightmare for Hollas. He completed 12 of 35 passes, threw six interceptions and twice threw passes out of his own end zone that were returned for touchdowns.

Hollas was never again a starter in the NFL and was out of football after the 1998 season.

Gradkowski is 26, four years younger than Hollas in 1998. His skill leading the Raiders from behind is not one Hollas exhibited in his brief run.

The NFL, as Gradkowski said, is full of stories of quarterbacks like Gannon, Jeff Garcia, Kurt Warner and Jake Delhomme who became accomplished starters without a prototypical pedigree.

It’s also has its share of guys like Hollas, who had a few weeks of success and then through talent level or circumstance are never heard from again.

Gradkowski could end up either way.

As Russell said Thursday, “Time will tell, time will tell.”

  • Share/Bookmark

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • http://www.actionext.com/playlist_57486.html La Milicia Negra

    AIG… thanx

  • aig

    LMN, just pls dont start praising Kitten again and get us to argue again…:)

  • http://www.actionext.com/playlist_57486.html La Milicia Negra

    well…

    we all know he is a genius, so no need to argue about that =)

  • 4evaRaider

    ask Pimp Kiffen….thats where he hires his recruiters from

  • http://www.actionext.com/playlist_57486.html La Milicia Negra

    still not Netherlands…

    but the COP15 is great, im making some bux on american NGO’s =)

  • http://blstb.msn.com/i/55/90A2853B6CFBCC2AFC987BB18B832.jpg vegas raider

    JHill,

    Morning!!

    I don’t see just outright cutting him, but I would be suprised if Al didn’t to negotiate down his salary a
    little.

    The only thing more legendary than Al’s fondness for big, fast players is his cheapness. If Bruce can win more games at 2 million a year, I just can’t see Al paying $10 million for a backup.

    Besides, Jamarcus saying no to Al’s restructing demands would almost be showing up the old man. That never works for the player.

    I just hope Jamarcus “get’s it”, shows up to camp in great shape AND spirit, restructures his contract, says all the right things and tries to win his job back in practice. Anything other than that, from both sides,will just be another disaster.

    Have a good day bro, I’m off for some holiday shopping.

  • aig

    Oh that’s right, you’re in Denmark right? My buddy used to serve in the army and stationed in Germany. He swore that them Euros have the best red light districts. All the flavors a man can ever wish for.

    Already told me wife I am taking a European trip once she is done with med school. Road trip baby!!!

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    AIG,

    The SEC is the WORST football in the nation from the standpoint of teaching the fundamentals.

    The WORST QBs come from there. Its all athleticism down there. The fanbases go overboard for college football and the coaches down there don’t teach a bit of real football.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    REgardless of how this season finishes….the Raiders need to bring in a veteran QB.

    Chad Pennington would be my choice. It seems that the Raiders succeed with these short-armed QBs with a Napolean attitude.

    Al Davis will just have to put to rest his drive for the long-ball.

  • DKnight007

    4evaRaider Says:
    December 12th, 2009 at 6:08 am
    Well you reap what you sow,imo.I said B4 Jmac shot himself and the Org. in the foot when he held out.Multiplyed by young and very immature and set 4 life,well this is what you get.

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhh….but by devine intervention or just good KARMA….2010 is an un-capped year,a once in a lifetime out 4 the owners,far-sighted are they.

    All excessive fat wll be cut from the Beast and there will be No scholarships on any team,imo.

    Once again the Virtue of hard work and determination,like sweet creame,rise 2 the top.

    Gradkowski has been very determined and has acted accordingly

    Jmac shops 4 bling

    The proof is in the pudding 4 ALL 2 see

    ^^^^^^^^^
    Exactly! It makes ZERO sense to be paying Russell the amount of money he is being paid to buy his bling and be lazy and unproductive.

    The looney old man better restructure down that freakin contract if he knows whats good for him, the team and whole dysfuntional organization in general! LOL

    Then again, this is the old delusional stubborn evil emperor old man we are talking about.

    Logical and reasonable decision making is NOT in his vocabulary and is thrown out the freakin window! haha

    The old looney brought back his #1 lapdog Hanson for cryin out loud to be part of the dysfuntional crackhead “personnel department”??

  • M Lonetree

    SnB,

    Pennington is damaged goods. Most retreads are. Either physically or psychologically.
    I just hope that if Gradkowski finishes out the season in a serviceable manner that he isn’t given a Derek Anderson contract.

  • inonewordraider

    he’d get only 3 mill if cut? Restructure or cut him then. But I’m not giving up on DMAC or Bush yet. They would tear our D up if they were on another team, we gotta learn how to use them correctly

  • aig

    SnB,

    The SEC is way overrated. They schedule themselves Louisana Lafeyette or appalachian state. Alabama is way overrated. They got smoked by Utah Utes last year. What you have is a bunch of overrated teams beating each other up and then the country annoints them #1. South Carolina got smoked last year in a bowl game too. Tenn is supposed to be good this year but UCLA beat them in their own home. Other than the Mannings, there havent been any QB worth a lick from the SEC.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    DKnight,

    I wonder out loud how the Davis fans would react if Russell was named the starter next year?

    Anyway, the best QBs the Raiders have had over the last 25 years have been two short-armed Napoleanic QBs:

    Hostetler and Gannon….two journeyman that were finally got it after 10+yrs in the league.

    I would go and get Pennington.

    It pains me to say this because, like Davis, I too believe in the big-armed down the field QB.

    But alas, the Raiders inept, stupid strategies prevents such a QB from being properly scouted, drafted and then coached up.

    So go get Pennington and let him push Gradkowski so that we can win some games….maybe no Super Bowl…because short-armed QBs rarely win them….but at least get back to the playoffs again.

  • neilb

    morning all.

  • neilb

    If you’re still there LMN…..good to see you again…..and you anywhere near the trouble over there?

  • DKnight007

    The whole BCS/BullS**T Championship Series is a sham and absolutely RUINS College Football.

    College Football is probably like having sex but not being able shoot.

    Lousy!

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    M Lonetree Says:
    December 12th, 2009 at 10:08 am
    SnB,

    Pennington is damaged goods. Most retreads are. Either physically or psychologically.
    I just hope that if Gradkowski finishes out the season in a serviceable manner that he isn’t given a Derek Anderson contract.
    =======================================================
    Pennington would be in his 10th year next year. So he would still have a good 3 to 5 years or more of football left.

    He is considered one of the smartest QBs in the league, although physically limited.

    Right now we just needs someone that can consistently complete the short and medium passes.

    The vertical game needs to go on ice. Cable is running the WCO anyway and who better than one of the most accurate QB in the league.

    I don’t trust Gradkowski yet without any competition. His career stats suggest problems and once there is tape on this guy in our offense things could change.

    Get Pennington in here to push Gradkowski in the offseason and provide us a solid option. Hell, maybe some of that hard work will rub off on Russell….Provided that he is not cut…which he should be.

  • jhill

    Wassup AIG,

    I’ll take your word on Stafford. I’ve watched a few Detroit games this year and he looked really accurate. Played hurt and all. But I’ve only seen a couple of games he’s played in. He looks way better than Sanchez.

  • jhill

    Would rather keep Frye and Grads than go the Pennington route. How many shoulder surgeries has he had? Is that going to be another 10 mph off his passes?

    No thanks!

  • DKnight007

    SnB offense defense specialteams Says:
    December 12th, 2009 at 10:12 am
    DKnight,

    I wonder out loud how the Davis fans would react if Russell was named the starter next year?

    Anyway, the best QBs the Raiders have had over the last 25 years have been two short-armed Napoleanic QBs:

    Hostetler and Gannon….two journeyman that were finally got it after 10+yrs in the league.

    I would go and get Pennington.

    It pains me to say this because, like Davis, I too believe in the big-armed down the field QB.

    But alas, the Raiders inept, stupid strategies prevents such a QB from being properly scouted, drafted and then coached up.

    So go get Pennington and let him push Gradkowski so that we can win some games….maybe no Super Bowl…because short-armed QBs rarely win them….but at least get back to the playoffs again.

    ^^^^^^^^^^
    Dude, there is now way Russell should be GIVEN anything from here on out. But this the crazy old man we are talking about. There is no LOGIC with him. Just bizarre weirdness!

    Russell needs to show up to camp 15-20 pounds lighter and in the best shape of his life, along with restructuring down his undeserving contract to be given even a half a CHANCE to be the starter next year IMO.

    Not a fan of signing Pennington. I would rather see them sign Vick for cheap money or trade for Kolb IF they can.

  • DKnight007

    It makes ZERO sense to be paying Russell the amount of money he is being paid to buy his bling and be lazy and unproductive.

    The looney old man better restructure down that freakin contract if he knows whats good for him, the team and whole dysfuntional organization in general! LOL

    Then again, this is the old delusional stubborn evil emperor old man we are talking about.

    Logical and reasonable decision making is NOT in his vocabulary and is thrown out the freakin window! haha

    The old looney brought back his #1 lapdog Hanson for cryin out loud to be part of the dysfuntional crackhead “personnel department”?? Looney!

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    AIG,

    My problem with the SEC is that at the end of the day athleticism is the final determining factor.

    Get bigger lineman and faster receivers and your team wins. That’s why Florida, Alabama and LSU have thrived when they brought in skilled recruiters.

    Elite college QBs need to go to programs that run a pro-style offense with receivers that are not dominant. That would reduce the margin of error in the qBs throws.

    When you play at Florida or LSU and you’ve got Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy or Dwayne Bowe etc….you don’t have to be all that accurate or on time when your receiver beats his man 80% of the time.

    And don’t get me started with those spread offenses.

    BTW, what has Urban Meyer taught Tebow about actually throwing the ball?

    The “And-1″ of college football…..

  • aig

    Morning Jhill,

    Penny is great but he gets hurt way too often. Sanchize is way overrated. He doesnt have the gift that Stafford has but I think he is a better leader than him. Only time will tell on these 2.

    Oh btw, I agree with your analysis on Penny. Funny thing is Herm Edwards pointed out that whenever Penny plays the full season his team makes the playoff. However, he hardly ever plays fthe full season. I think he’s done.

  • aig

    SnB,

    You are 100% correct!

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    jhill Says:
    December 12th, 2009 at 10:23 am
    Would rather keep Frye and Grads than go the Pennington route. How many shoulder surgeries has he had? Is that going to be another 10 mph off his passes?

    No thanks!
    =======================================================
    If Pennington beats out Gradkowski in camp then it would be a great deal. I don’t think there will be demand for Pennington so its not like a big risk.

    If his shoulder is healed, then he could come in here and provide a legit push to Gradkowski.

    I’ve given up on the deep ball thrower. The Raiders are to schitzophrenic with the deep ball/WCO for a deep ball thrower to succeed here.

    Plus Davis has no clue on how to evaluate, draft and develop a QB. This situation disappoints me greatly.

    Nevertheless, I just want to see some wins. Its going to be guys like Gradkowski, Pennington, Hostetler type QBs that will get us back to average.

    Russell will never work out here because I challenge his work ethic and Cable seems to type cast players.

    Russell might succeed in a place where there is structure, discipline and great coaching…..but he won’t succeed here…and that’s all that matters.

    Get Gradkowski, Pennington and hell throw in Frye and let them compete

  • aig

    got to run. be back later boys. Sunday cannot come any faster. We need judgement day here and now.

  • neilb

    Didn’t we have a Pennington here at the start of the season called Garcia?

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    JHill,

    Al Davis should have hired Jim Fassell or Gilbride if he wanted to resurrect the deep passing game.

    Davis brought in Cable who is part of the WCO tree of Walsh, Holmgren, Mora etc. They favor QBs that are accurate in the short-medium game and running these timing routes etc…

    Russell needs to be in a more downfield passing attack….of course that’s after he gets himself into shape and in the video room.

    Davis really has no idea what he wants in an offense and the team suffers for it.

    Is it power blocking or the ZBS

    Vertical offense or WCO

    Possession receivers or deep threats

    Power Runners or zone runner / scat backs

    The offense should just dedicate itself to the WCO.

    Go get the ZBS blockers (small and athletic)
    Go get possession receivers (no DHB)
    and start Fargas 20 carries because that’s who Cable likes

    Just set a strategy and move forward. The Raiders need to recognize who they are….embrace it….and move on towards building a team to that strategy.

    Some of the deep ball power folks (me included) might not like it….but if the team will just commit…maybe we can win some games

  • 4evaRaider

    Is it power blocking or the ZBS

    Vertical offense or WCO

    Possession receivers or deep threats

    Power Runners or zone runner / scat backs
    ****************************************************

    Yes

  • jhill

    SnB,

    I don’t really care about the big armed guys anymore. I just don’t think Pennington is a risk worth taking. If not for his injuries, maybe so.

  • jhill

    At this point SnB, we really need to focus on areas other than QB. We have a decent guy behind center now who is doing everything the coach wants. We have another solid vet on the bench in Frye, and a young who they are looking to develop.

    QB has HARDLY been the only issue with this team. Let’s worry about solidifying the Oline and LB situation. QB, RB, and WR wil sort itself out.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    jhill Says:
    December 12th, 2009 at 10:51 am
    SnB,

    I don’t really care about the big armed guys anymore. I just don’t think Pennington is a risk worth taking. If not for his injuries, maybe so
    ======================================================
    They need to bring in a veteran WCO type QB next year. No way should Gradkowski just be handed the job by default. That’s a set up and Russell is not competition.

    Its disappointing that Russell didn’t workout. I always envisioned the Raiders getting the next Marino or (sad to say) Philip Rivers type QB that can beat you at any given time anywhere on the field.

    But Davis has “by default” chosen to run 49er ball here in Oakland. So they need to get “49er” type Qbs to run it….

  • http://www.actionext.com/playlist_57486.html La Milicia Negra

    NeilB..

    nopes, the trouble is way out of my hood =) and the trouble is not worth mention. its not anything like the stuff in London a few months ago =)

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Pennington is a risk worth taking. If not for his injuries, maybe so.

    182.jhill Says:
    December 12th, 2009 at 10:54 am
    At this point SnB, we really need to focus on areas other than QB. We have a decent guy behind center now who is doing everything the coach wants. We have another solid vet on the bench in Frye, and a young who they are looking to develop.

    QB has HARDLY been the only issue with this team. Let’s worry about solidifying the Oline and LB situation. QB, RB, and WR wil sort itself out.
    =======================================================
    I agree. But even when we talk O-Line…you have to frame that pick in the context of the philosophy of Cable. Its not going to be the traditional big OG/OT…and probably not a highly drafted pick. Its going to be another athletic guy. They won’t pick a OL high in the draft.

    So we are down to MLB and DT in my opinion. I really hope Davis doesn’t spend a 1st round pick for a Nickle Back….Chris JOhnson is good enough so no need to move him…and Nnamdi is a beast on his side.

    So, the question comes down to whether Davis feels a Linebacker is worth a 1st round pick….or if he feels satisfied with Kelly/Warren/Bryant…….

    Don’t be surprised to see the cornerback selected in the 1st round.

    Personally, I would rather see them trade the 1st round pick for another proven veteran like Seymour….

  • neilb

    LMN…

    Good to hear,caught the news before I came here and it said there had been 500 arrests.

  • jhill

    I have no problem with a CB/KR guy in the first round. It is without question a need position with no one behind Routt on the roster. If they resgin Routt, then that would change things.

  • jhill

    I agree with trading the pick for a guy like Seymour, but Al wouldn’t give up this years pick for Seymour in the Pats deal. It would have to be a heck of a player we get.

  • http://www.actionext.com/playlist_57486.html La Milicia Negra

    Neilb…

    wow 500! well they use preemptive arrests, as they do to soccer games, but we got our first water-cannon, due to the COP15, but I hardly think it will be used =)

  • http://www.actionext.com/playlist_57486.html La Milicia Negra

    # jhill Says:
    December 12th, 2009 at 11:09 am

    I have no problem with a CB/KR guy in the first round. It is without question a need position with no one behind Routt on the roster. If they resgin Routt, then that would change things.
    ____________________________________________________

    i remember when some suggested DeAngelo Hall should be KR/PR, and people said it was a stupid idea when he cost us so much…

    and regarding a 1st rounder doing it, I cant see the harm either, mainly because i value the position so high…

    Percy Harvin is a monster weapon, I would love us to use a guy like him for KRs… I dont care about the injuries…

  • neilb

    LMN…

    That’s what the news said.The reports looked very peaceful on tv.

    You never know, do ya!! The media makes more trouble than it reports.

  • neilb

    Ref the KR/PR question.Why is Branch not being used ? He returned them in college,why not the pro’s ?

  • neilb

    Time to go….

    Enjoy your Saturday everyone.

  • M Lonetree

    Go Griz!

  • ChrisinJersey

    Thanks for bringing back some bad memories Jerry. That Chargers game has to be the worst game in NFL history. Probably 25 punts then the miracle to Jett. And Hollas should have beaten Baltimore. He was so far in the end zone w/ the ball on 4th down. Ridiculous call. As I remember it, Raiders might still have gone to the playoffs if Eric Allen didn’t get hurt vs. Seattle. Definitely Gruden’s best coaching job with a big assist from Willie Shaw.