Bay Area News Group writer Steve Corkran is reporting that Bruce Gradkowski will indeed be the Raiders’ starting quarterback Sunday Miami, citing three sources, two within the organization and one in Gradkowski’s camp.
Thus ends a week-long charade which started following a 35-3 loss to Pittsburgh when coach Tom Cable said with conviction that Jason Campbell would remain the starter, a notion he never refuted during the course of the week.
Profootballtalk.com wrote of “all signs” pointing to Gradkowski Friday. ESPN’s Adam Schefter and the NFL Network’s Jason LaCanfora quoted “sources familiar with the situation” Saturday as saying the Raiders planned to start Gradkowski.
Campbell even played along Friday when asked if he was concerned about being removed if he didn’t get off to a good start. Campbell did not meet with the media Wednesday, the day the Raiders’ starting quarterback speaks to the press. When reporters came to talk to Campbell on Thursday, he instead walked to a closed locker room after a short conversation with senior executive John Herrera.
Did the Raiders keep a secret as an attempt to gain a competitive advantage? It would seem to go against Cable’s often-stated rationale that “It’s not about them, it’s about us.”
Considering Miami’s ability to put pressure on the quarterback and Campbell’s struggles when facing a rush, it would seem all Cable had to do was go back to his old axiom, “We’ll do whatever gives us the best chance to win.”
A cynic would suggest offensive coordinator Hue Jackson and Cable finally got the green light to start the quarterback they preferred.
Regardless of how the decision came to be, it’s likely to light a fire under the home crowd, most of whom consider Gradkowski the people’s choice.
As for Campbell, it probably seems like a million years ago that Al Davis considered him the next Jim Plunkett. Assuming the second year added to his contract isn’t guaranteed, it’s hard to imagine bringing Campbell back at more than $4 million after he’s been benched three times (halftime of the St. Louis game, third quarter of the Pittsburgh game, and again after Cable originally said he would start against Miami) and then be asked to pretend he’s the starter.
Raiders officials could not be reached for comment.