FanPost

Al Was Right - Gradkowski is Not The Man

After last season, much of the Raider Nation felt that Bruce Gradkowski was the man to lead the team at QB. I felt that way too, especially since nothing meaningful was done to improve the offensive line. Grad's mobility was the only saving grace the offense had other than Zach Miller. In fact, it seemed the only option possible was to have a QB who can improvise and make plays.

Al Davis felt differently and brought in two strong armed pocket passers, Jason Campbell and Kyle Boller. Charlie Frye was kept around as well. No doubt about Campbell being brought in to start. He's not a very mobile guy except under severe pressure. Boller and Frye are somewhat mobile but in contrast, none are similar to Gradkowski.

As it turns out, Grad's happy feet have not been as effective this season and he's been hammered when he hangs in the pocket. He gets hammered when he's on the run too because he takes on defenders. Grad is done for the season and I would not be surprised if he was done as a Raider.

I see Al's QB preferential logic but what I will never get is how he can let his QB investments become fodder for bull rushing defenses. Is it a secret that every NFL team places a priority on being able to maul an offensive line and pressure the QB? is it a secret that every NFL team specifically looks for defensive ends who are athletic and can easily out maneuver a lumbering, clumsy offensive tackle? Shouldn't the idea with building an OL be to match speed, power and finesse? How is Al Davis so blind to these realities that he places his faith in a scrub OL?

Any Raiders QB is going to get hammered in the pocket. Coaches Laying Cable and Hue Jackson have tried a few methods to keep the pressure off the QB. Sometimes those plays are effective. However, as a consistent game plan, more is needed.

Darren McFadden's emergence this season has been the lone factor in proving me wrong on bashing the OL. McFadden has been rushing straight ahead for much of his yardage. He is also excellent at catching passes and gaining yards. The problem is in pass protection, not with run blocking which has been 50-50 when McFadden is healthy, he gets a hole to work with. I made up that 50-50 ratio as a general example based on what I see.

Gradkowski made up his mind he was going to run just about every time he was asked to pass. That's when he is at his best but unfortunately for Grad, that is not how Al wants his offense to be played. Most likely, that is not how Hue Jackson wants it either.

If they bring in right and left offensive tackles that have some credibility, maybe the Raiders can manage to find some run-pass balance regardless of who plays QB.

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