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Saturday, September 25, 2010

St. Louis Rams vs Oakland Raiders - September 19 2010

Raiders @ Cardinals : How I See It

I'm ready to see Oakland's offense come alive in this week match-up against the Cards. Some NFL analysts claim we will have a good ground attack but will struggle with the passing game. Looking at the facts of it we can dominate this game if Gradkowski and McFadden get on a roll early.
Darren McFadden is the #2 leading rusher in the NFL with 48 carries for 240 yards and a 5.0 avg. McFadden also has 8 catches for 63 yards and a TD. He has definitely has quieted most of the critics saying he may be another bust like JaMarcus Russell. A completely unfair comparison in my opinion. Darren McFadden is for real and I think we'll see him run loose in Arizona tomorrow.
Bruce Gradkowski If Bruce Gradkowski can come out on fire like last weeks game against the Rams, then I believe the Silver & Black have a shot at a blowout. Think about how much confidence running up the score would bring to an offense that has had issues with putting up points. I think Bruce is the man for the job. Our offensive line needs some work so having a very mobile and explosive QB under center helps solve that problem. His energy is well accepted by the entire team. I hope to see continued involvement of Darrius Heyward - Bey, Louis Murphy, and Zach Miller. This is the time for our go to players to show the critics they are indeed weapons.
Defense as always D will have to have a great game. I'm predicting a huge performance from several players and I think we will be solid at stopping the run. Our Linebackers will step up against the Cards offense. I think Tim Hightower is going to have a long day as long as we come out fired up.
All in all my prediction is Raiders 24 Cardinals 10, Gradkowski 20-31 265 yds 2 TDs, McFadden 22 carries for 118 yds TD

Friday, September 24, 2010

In goood hands

While the benching of starting QB Jason Campbell was needed, the move created controversy. Coach Tom Cable handled the barrage of question well. "The reasons are pretty simple," Cable said. "First and foremost is the energy and the level of intensity that was brought into the huddle when he came into the game. The way the guys responded around him. And, obviously, scoring 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." Also Cable made sure to mention this is not going to be an issue in Oakland stating "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 came to a decision this morning," Cable said. "Again, we've made it, and there's no issues or controversies or anything like that. The decision's been made."
I truly think Bruce is the immediate answer to Oakland's stagnant passing game. Again the energy he gives our team that added boost we need on both sides of the football. I also think it is a great idea to make the move now to get Bruce a little more acclimated to being the startee because do not forget Raider Nation we face the Texans next and they seem to be for real this season.
I have been quite impressed by our Linebacking group. I love the new nick names for those of you that did not see the twitter post it is "Warden Wimbley welcomes you to Death Ro at San Quentin." Those Cardinals better beware. Especially be aware of Rolando McClain. He has proven he will destroy you!

Bruce Must Produce

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ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Bruce Gradkowski's excitement over being appointed the Oakland Raiders' starting quarterback didn't last long. The journeyman backup, having seen the team already make one change after just six quarters, realizes there isn't much job security.

Gradkowski on Thursday worked through his second full practice since coach Tom Cable picked him to replace Jason Campbell as the Raiders' starter.

The promotion capped a 10-month stretch during which Gradkowski suffered two season-ending knee injuries, tore a pectoral muscle, then watched as Oakland cut former No. 1 overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell, traded for Campbell and immediately named him the starter on the eve of training camp.

Despite receiving reassurance from Cable otherwise, Gradkowski isn't taking anything for granted.

"No matter what Coach said, you just never know," Gradkowski said. "Winning's the name of the game, and if I'm not getting it done, I'm sure he's going to try to find someone else who will. You just have to respect that."

It's the quickest non-injury-related quarterback change the Raiders have made since returning to Northern California in 1995. Aaron Brooks was replaced by Andrew Walter in Week 2 during the 2006 season after injuring his throwing shoulder.

This is nothing new to Gradkowski. He came off the bench to replace Russell midway through last season and led the Raiders to wins over the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers in his first three starts before suffering the season-ending knee injuries in Week 14.

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That made Gradkowski somewhat of a folk hero in Oakland, where fans had grown bitter because of Russell's poor performances and lackadaisical attitude. In four starts, Gradkowski passed for 844 yards and six touchdowns with one interception. His 89.7 passer rating as a starter was easily tops among the three quarterbacks Oakland used last season.

Just as quickly as his popularity with the Raiders was taking off, Gradkowski was injured. The misfortune continued during the offseason when Gradkowski tore a pec muscle while lifting weights, shelving him for most of the Raiders' offseason workouts.

That was followed by a groin injury, suffered early in camp, that cost Gradkowski two weeks, giving Oakland more reason to go with Campbell as the starter.

"Last year was last year, and you've got to get it done this year," Gradkowski said. "Coach Cable sat us down and told us the news, and I was excited. But the excitement ends right there. I really haven't done nothing, in my mind."

While Gradkowski answered questions about the quarterback change at a podium adjacent to one of the team's three practice fields, Campbell politely declined to be interviewed when approached inside the Raiders' locker room.

"I can't talk to you guys," Campbell said. "I would, but (the Raiders) asked me not to."

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Campbell, whom Raiders owner Al Davis compared to two-time Super Bowl winner Jim Plunkett shortly after the April trade with the Washington Redskins, has a 61.9 completion percentage this season, but he passed for just 267 yards and led only one touchdown drive in 1½ games. He also was sacked six times, a key issue given Oakland's pass-protection problems.

Cable cited the energy that Gradkowski brought to the Raiders' huddle as a factor in making the change and said the quarterback's handling of his own health issues over the last year increased his popularity in the locker room.

"What it does more than anything, it earns the respect of your teammates, to battle through all those things and still stand tall," Cable said. "He didn't panic. He was very disappointed ... but the thing about Bruce is whatever curveball you throw at him, he just takes it and keeps pushing."

Notes: The Raiders added rookie Quentin Scott and re-signed S Stevie Brown to their practice squad. To make room, they cut LB Slade Norris. ... LG Robert Gallery (hamstring) didn't practice and is questionable to play Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, Cable said. WR Chaz Schilens (foot), LB Travis Goethel (back) and DT John Henderson (foot) also are questionable. S Michael Huff (headache) was limited, but RB Michael Bush (broken thumb) and DT Richard Seymour (hamstring) didn't have any restrictions.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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