Gradkowski Named Starter: Can He Help?

The quarterback play can’t get any worse and even a slight bump in production will lead to a more competitive team. Right?

Chad Ochocinco may have said it best during his media conference call. What is on the field doesn’t match production.

Will Gradkowski cure the ills of the Raiders? Does he really give the Raiders the best chance to win? The stats say no.

Lets compare Russell to Gradkowski.

Gradkowski’s career numbers:

22 games
53.1% completions
9 touchdowns
15 Interceptions
4.9 yards per attempt
19 passes over 20 yards
3 over 40 yards

Russell career numbers:

28 games
51.6% completions
17 touchdowns
21 Interceptions
6.0 yards per attempt
49 passes over 20 yards
7 passes over 40 yards

Russell in 09:
9 games
2 TD
5.2 yard per attempt

Using those numbers:
Approx 161 more passes will be thrown by a Raiders QB this season

Gradkowski completes: 89 for 789 yards with 3 TD & 5 INTs
Russell career completes: 83 for 966 yards with 4 TDs and 5 INTs
Russell 09′ version: 75 for 837 yards with 2 TDs and 7 INTs

I don’t see how Gradkowski gives the Raiders a better chance to win. This isn’t a defense of Russell, but a sobbering reminder that Gradkowski isn’t any good either.

The Raiders replaced Russell, with a less talented Russell named Gradkowski.

So who should the Raiders start? It is my contention that if we aren’t going to live and die (mostly die) by Russell, it should be Charlie Frye.


23 games
62.0% completions
16 TDs
25 INTs
6.1 yard avg per attempt
36 passes of over 20 yards

7 passes of over 40 yards

With 161 attempts, Frye would produce 982 yards, on 98 completions. He would also produce 5 TDs, and 8 INTs.

Gradkowski completes: 89 for 789 yards with 3 TD & 5 INTs
Russell career completes: 83 for 966 yards with 4 TDs and 5 INTs
Russell 09′ version: 75 for 837 yards with 2 TDs and 7 INTs
Frye completes: 98 for 982 yards and 5 TDs and 8 INTs,

The concern would be those 8 INTs, but clearly the QB that would give us the best chance to win, is still, unfortunately, an improved (or even career average) JaMarcus Russell, or it is Charlie Frye.

Gradkowski is a Paul Hackett selection if I have ever seen one. Cable is leaning on Paul Hackett’s QB knowledge and he is partial to Gradkowski because he and Gradkowski didn’t think Gruden gave him enough of a shot in Tampa Bay considering Gradkowski was a rookie in the only year he had extended playing time.

This is why the Jeff Garcia signing was supposed to be so huge for this team. It would allow the coaches to go to Garcia in order to pressure Russell to do the things he needs to do.

Now the coaching staff is talking big, like this is some permanent move for the future, but when and if Gradkowski is as bad as Russell, the player making the most coin must start. The owner will make that clear.

So while I’d love to give Raider Nation some hope, and tell them Gradkowski will turn things around for the Raiders, it just doesn’t seem likely.

There is a chance that softly thrown passes no longer than 15 yards will work, it worked for Paul Hackett with Chad Pennington.

Cable said they wouldn’t change the offense for Gradkowski, but they should. Receiver screens, and shorter patterns that mean the speedy guys get the ball early is Gradkowski’s only hope.

We wont be the vertical speed of DHB and Murphy with Gradkowski at the helm.

Expect many more targets to go to Schilens and Zach Miller.

I am going to the game this Sunday. If the Raiders don’t entertain me, I am hoping Chad Ochocinco will.

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