Monday, November 23, 2009

Bruce Almighty

Gradkowski demonstrated in 1 game what Russell failed to do in the 9 previous games. Although his statistics don't jump out on the page (17-34, 183 yards, 2 TDs, 1 Int), Ski's passion for the game of football was a beautiful elixir for Raider fans desperate for hope.

Ski put together 2 critical TD drives when the offensive unit needed him to come through the most. The first drive was before the end of the 1st half that totaled 9 plays and 71 yards and culminated in a 10 yard strike to TE Miller. This drive closed the score from 14-0 to 14-7 and gave the Raiders hope entering halftime.

The 2nd TD drive was clutch. At the end of the game, with 2:12 to go, Ski drove the Raiders 80 yards and hit WR Muphy for the tying score. Prior to Murphy's TD, Ski converted a game deciding 4th and 10 with a critical 16 yard strike to WR Schilens.

Watching Ski as the starting QB was a breath of fresh air. Here's a guy who has fought tooth and nail to get signed by countless teams (Bucs, Rams, Browns, and Raiders). He takes nothing for granted and has no sense of entitlement.

Instead he over-compensates by being well prepared and totally committed to his craft. What caught my attention was more about what Ski did on the sideline than on the field itself. When the offensive unit was off the field, Ski was animated, involved, enthusiastic, and constantly offering support and instruction to his teammates. He was COMPLETELY immersed and engaged in the moment and how to improve the results on the field and adjust to what the Bengals D was showing him. Cable's quote says it all, "great feedback today when he came off the field after each offensive series."

On the field, Ski showed all of the intangibles that a successful QB needs in the ultra competitive NFL ... command in the huddle, varying the cadence at the line of scrimmage (3 Bengals offside penalties), decisiveness when the pocket broke down, ability to read the entire field, avoiding costly sacks (0). Gallery summarized what Ski brings to the table best by saying "He's just what a QB should be. Confident. He has the trust of everybody. He know's what he's doing. He has our backs if something breaks down. Just what a QB should be."

Ski has an awesome opportunity to show his value to the team over the course of the next 6 games and his future status in 2010. It will be interesting to see if the Raiders can establish productive consistency with Ski at the helm and whether or not Russell learns any valuable lessons from the gritty, determined efforts of his colleague.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


You hit the nail on the head its nice to have someone at the critical position of QB who actually cares. I guess this is what made me so dissapointed in Jamarcus.

I think I saw you at the game on TV or at least you were one of the ten people who went.

Seriously though its sure helps to chase away the monday morning blues after a win. The D looked solid and Branch is a stud. How did Chris Johnson look in coverage it seems he gets burnt once a game?

Regards and congrats

Florida Raider

7:08 AM  
Blogger raiderpirate said...

J.R. football with Oakland is over.....Thank Goodness...hes showed no improvment,and looks awful at qb im so happy he is on the bench,i think we might be 500 or better if not for J.R. rejoice Raider Nation!!!!!

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gradkowski seems to have the same tireless work ethic that Gannon had, and the entire offense fed off that energy and desire. Now I'm not saying that Grad is the 2nd coming of Gannon, but the energy he brings to the huddle, better pocket awareness, and ability to check down receivers are traits that have been SORELY missed with Russell at the helm.
Not getting too excited (as Russell DID engineer a comeback drive against the Chiefs in Week 2), but Grad gives us some hope for the short term....

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

makes you wonder what would have happened if Garcia had stayed.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice article CB, glad you were able to be there in person - let's hope that 'ski' has another strong showing next week. Seeing our qb pumped up and competing hard sure beats watching JR go out and lob junk then go sit on the bench and smile like all is's to watching the S&B on turkey day!
enjoy your Tgiving!

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing. A change at QB, for one game, produced significant results. (A win, no less) We do have to consider that it's Gradkowski's first start but so far, so good.

He isn't the long term solution yet I would personally want Bruce to succeed and be cut from the same cloth as Rich Gannon or Jeff Hostetler. Both were unheralded, career backups before donning S&B. They lacked raw talent and a rifle arm but they showed grit, determination and heart while leading by example. Another QB, by the name of Jim Plunkett, was considered washed up- a bust. He has two SB rings to his credit. Kenny Stabler sat on the bench until his time had come. Daryle Lamonica came via trade. Familiar pattern, don't you think? J-Bust is not the answer. Here's to the man they call Bruce. May he continue the Raider QB tradition.

10:46 PM  
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