Raiders’ Gradkowski can extinguish controversies

Posted Sept. 25, 2010 @ 8:30 p.m.
Posted By Dan Parr

He wasn't even allowed to compete for the job in training camp and the preseason, but, for a second straight season, the Raiders have turned to QB Bruce Gradkowski to be their starter.

After only 1½ games Oakland demoted Jason Campbell, who was infamously compared to former Raiders QB Jim Plunkett, the Super Bowl XV MVP, by owner Al Davis in the offseason — and the team has put a gag order on Campbell.

Oakland pulled Campbell in favor of Gradkowski at halftime in Week Two after offensive coordinator Hue Jackson recommended the move to head coach Tom Cable, according to Jackson. Gradkowski helped an offense, which had scored 16 points in a game and a half with Campbell at the helm, to come from behind to beat the Rams, and he was officially named the starter for Week Three by Cable on Wednesday.

While the QB controversy simmers, some have interpreted Jackson's declaration that it was his idea to change quarterbacks as an attempt to undermine Cable's authority, even though Jackson, in his first season with the team, said everything done on offense comes with Cable's blessing. There is speculation that if things go south for the Raiders this season, Davis will fire Cable, and Jackson would like to position himself to become the next head coach.

If the Raiders continue winning with Gradkowski as the starter, a coaching change or a potential rift between Cable and Jackson or the reinsertion of Campbell as the starter will probably become moot points. But if things don't improve for a club that was supposed to be more competitive in 2010, it could get very ugly in Oakland.

Gradkowski, who is playing on a one-year tender, made it clear that he doesn't see the promotion as a permanent one. However, if Gradkowski continues to play well, Campbell, who signed a two-year deal in April after he was acquired from the Redskins, will probably spend the rest of the season on the sideline.

The team asked Campbell not to speak with the media this week, and he fulfilled their request, although he said he would like to talk.