I know, it sickens me to say the BUT part because even IF JaMarcus is at the Sports Training Complex in Scottsdale or Betty Ford/Jenny Craig for that matter it is NEARLY too little too late. BUT, is it too late?
It is no secret that the Oakland Raiders were a MUCH better team under Bruce Gradkowski. Just look at the results:
Game 1 - He entered for an injured JaMarcus Russell and went 2-2 for 17 yards. Russell then came back from the injury and he was sent to the bench.
Game 7 - He entered into the game, when it was already decided and racked up some decent numbers. He went 10-19 for 97 yards and ran the ball twice for 25 yards. If it weren't for Darius Heyward-Bey, DHB, letting an easy touchdown bounce off of his face mask he would have had a shut-out stopping TD and would have at least saved us the humiliation of being shut out at home in the worst home loss in history.
Against that same defense, JaMarcus Russell went 6-11for 61 yards and two picks
Game 9 - This was his worst game statistically, but those numbers can be tricky at times. he came in to relieve JaMarcus and went 5-9 for 49 yards with 2 picks. But, as I said, numbers can be tricky, he led the team on a final drive that could have won the game had the afore mentioned DHB not dropped a pass in his bread basket on the 5 yard line that ended up being picked by the Chiefs for the game sealer.
Fortunately, the Raider had seen enough in that final drive to start him next week against Cincy.
Game 10 - In Bruce's first start for the Raiders his numbers were average, but, his performance in the clutch was anything but average. He went 17-34 for 183 yards, a pair of touchdowns ( The same number that JaMarcus Russell had accumulated all season) and led a game tying drive in the final minutes that allowed the team to be in position, after a special teams fumble recovery to win on a Seabastian Janikowski FG.
( I just had an odd though about Sea-Bass and DHB, I wonder if Sebastian got all pumped up when he thought they drafted GHB, then was deflated to learn that it was actually DHB)
Game 11 - Coming off of a big win and playing on a very short week, a Thursday game, the team admitted that they weren't ready for the Cowboys, and it showed. Then again, Bruce was alright, going 18-35 for 200 yards and a TD.
Game 12 - His performance against the Steelers has gone down as one of the best in Oakland Raider History. It was NOT retribution for the Franco Harris "Trap", but it did feel good to beat the Steelers and be a thorn in their playoff hopes after their coach promised to "Unleash Hell" on the Raiders.
Bruce finished with 305 yards, 3 TDs and a QB rating of 121.8. His game winning touch down pass still send shivers down my spine. On THAT day, he became, MY quarterback. Unfortunately it would only last one more week.
Game 12 - Bruce fought admirably against a Redskin defense that came out roaring from bell to bell. he managed 18 completions and 153 yards before having his season ended on a high low hit that left him barely able to stand. After suffering rips in both knees and the score, 17-10 , Bruce could not start the 2nd Half and JaMarcus Russell came in.
The entire stadium knew that the game was over and even when JaMarcus Russell drove the ball to the Washington 28, he was promptly sacked and the team never got closer than the Washington 28 for the rest of the game.
Inside of me, given Bruce's game winning and near game winning performances, I know that we would have won that game if he was didn't leave with the injury.
When JaMarcus entered the game to boos, you could feel the energy leave the fans and the team itself. Can this team really be going back to JaMarcus? Is a trip to Jenny/Ford/Sanders going to be enough for him to become the player that we all (most of us) envisioned when he was selected #1 over all out of LSU? I mean, how can you argue with Gradkowski's success?
I guess that leads me to a question for this community:
IF JaMarcus puts in the work, mentally and physically, is he your quarterback, over Gradkowski?