Raiders coach Tom Cable explains the decision to start Bruce Gradkowski over Jason Campbell and takes other questions at his post-practice press briefing Wednesday:
Cable: Schilens (knee), Gallery (hamstring), Goethel (lower back), John Henderson (foot) did not participate. Do not believe (Henderson’s ) to be serious, just taking a precaution Bush (thumb) and Chris Johnson practiced full Limited guys were Seymour (hamstring), Eugene (hamstring) and Walter
We are going to start Bruce Gradkowski at quarterback. The reasons are pretty simple. I think there are two of them. First and foremost is the energy and the level of intensity that was brought into the huddle when he came into the game. They way the guys responded around him. And obviously scoring points. If you look back to the preseason, even at that time in the two games he came in he scored points.
That’s what we’re about. If we can get this thing to where we can score 24 points a game, I think we’ll be very tough to beat.
Q: How did Jason take the bad news?
Cable: He was disappointed but you know, if I understand him and what he’s about, he’ll battle with this. Like I told them both, we are going to need both of them. This is a long season. It seems to be that case on many teams already. The opportunity for him to go in and play quarterback will be just around the corner. Now he’s just one play away so he has to prepare himself and be ready to go, and I think he will be.
Q: How much of this is because of Hue’s input?
Cable: Like everything, since we talked about it, whenever we make a decision we try to make it as a coaching staff. It will end with me. So, when we talked about it at halftime, it was something to step away for a second and think about it because you have to realize as a head coach, when you make that choice it is what it is.
When we did it, obviously it was the right decision, it worked, and then as we talked about it here the last couple of days and come to a decision this morning, Again, we’ve made it and there’s noissues or controversies or anything like that. The decision’s been made.
Q: Do you make the move at halftime without Hue coming to you?
Cable: We had talked about it as early as last week, during the week, that we have to play better at quarterback. So it wasn’t a conversation of newness or anything like that. As I told him, you gotta tell me what you need and what you feel like you need for us to succeed. I think that’s, like I’ve said from the very beginning, is one of the things I enjoy now is not having to do all that.
Q: Did Al Davis have a role in this decision or give final approval?
Cable: This was handled by us as coaches. It ultimately rested at my feet and when we made the decision, it comes from me.
Q: Is Bruce the guy until further notice as long as he plays well?
Cable: I think so. It’s not like – we want to continue to improve this football team, and that means going out and playing with the right energy and the right attention to detail. I think the thing that stood out to me, so you get where I’m coming from, is the same people, same day, same defense, same opponent, same people in the huddle with you, didn’t change the plan, and yet we were able to go out and move the ball and score some points. He’ll go in there and do the job. It’s his now. Where we go from here, obviously, will be decided by how well he plays.
Q: Did you put Bruce on notice, essentially, six rough quarters and we’re going to someone else?
Cable: I think this. I think if you go out and continue to win games, this is a moot point. Certainly everyone understands you have a job to do and you have to do it.
Q: Why do you think Jason struggled?
Cable: We’ve really tried to put our finger on it. Maybe it’s the level of comfort and confidence, all those kinds of things. I think having a break right now, however long it lasts for him, can also be good for him. Get a chance to sit back and look at it and evaluate it.
Q: Are there any lingering effects from the injuries against San Francisco for Jason?
Cable: I don’t believe so. I don’t think he would be out there if he wasn’t cleared and 100 percent.
Q: What is it about Bruce that the guys seem to rally around?
Cable: He’s a fiery guy. He’s very passionate about what he’s doing. He has great command of it. I think they respect that, they trust that. He’s not afraid to get after anyone, whether it’s a lineman or receiver or whoever, himself, he’s very, very hard on himself. I think guys just really respect that fact.
Q: After the torn pec then the hamstring, when he played so well in his first preseason game, did that surprise you?
Cable: No, that didn’t surprise me. I don’t think it really surprised his teammates either. Once Bruce goes to work at something – you mentioned the fact he missed all that time, but he never stopped working. He’s studying. Some newness of the system, he’s still learning it. For him to come out and do some of those things with some of the new things is probably the surprise, but just his way of playing, his fieriness, his competitiveness didn’t surprise you at all.
Q: Thoughts on the Cardinals?
Cable: I think they’re a team that is very talented in a couple of spots. The receiver is a fabulous player. Larry Fitzgerald is as special a guy as there is in this league. The runner in my opinion is very, very good. You look at a team like Atlanta, runs like we do, very aggressive on defense and he hits one for 80 yards and finishes it. That impressed me a great, great deal. Up front, very physical on the offensive line. You have to find a way to get after the quarterback and disrupt him.
Defensively, Darnell Dockett, if he doesn’t want you to, you don’t block him. Anyone in this league knows that. He’s a very, very difficult matchup for any team, let alone is. Wilson at safety. The linebackers, Porter on one side gives you some issues in terms of protecting your quarterback. They’re going to put eight guys in the box. Our plan this week and what we need to do this week is more discipline and more attention to detail. We’re going on the road again. It will be their home opener. I’m sure they’ll be full of a lot of energy.
Q: Nnamdi not move around because no No. 1 receiver first 2 weeks?
Cable: I think there’s something to that. Yeah I think there’s something to that. I think that he’ll look forward to the challenge this week to do some of those things and we’ll match him up when we can and we’ll play normal coverages when it doesn’t fit.
Q: Important of back-to-back wins?
Cable: It’s really important. For us right now, if we can stay the course of where we’re at and just buying into the fact of getting better and playing hard and trying to clean it up. I think it bodes well for us to worry about that. That will bring us a second win and a third and so on. Right now we’ve got to just keep real focus on us.
Q: Still rotate at LT?
Cable: Yeah. There’s no reason to change that.
Q: How did Loper do?
Cable: I thought he was solid. That’s what we need him to be right now, to plug a hole and be solid and give us a chance to operate. Let the other 10 guys have a chance to do the job as well. I think he allowed us to do that. Until we get Robert back, that’s what we need out of him.
Q: Is Gallery close?
Cable: He’s much better today. His workout was good this morning. Let’s see where he’s at tomorrow and again on Friday. He’s better how much we’ll see.
Q: And Bush?
Cable: Bush did everything today. For the first time, everything form individual to catching to blocking to running, the whole deal. I think he feels really good and we feel really good about where he’s at.
Q: Are there concerns about playing in a new stadium, like finding play clock?
Cable: No. That’s pretty standard in the league. It’s going to be right there in front of you. The scoreboard is going to be up above that. For us, those things shouldn’t be issues for us. We have to be thinking about us all the way.
Q: Is Pears back?
Cable: We did. We waived Stevie Brown and re-signed Eric Pears.
Q: Did Brown clear waivers and will he back on the practice squad?
Cable: I’ll go back up there and that will be next.
Note: Brown did clear waivers.