Oakland Raiders head coach Tom Cable declined to name a starting quarterback during his conference call with the Arizona media, but Jason La Canfora of the NFL Network reports that Bruce Gradkowski will get the start on Sunday.
Gradkowski replaced an ineffective Jason Campbell in the second half on Sunday, completing 11-of-22 pass attempts for 162 yards with a touchdown and interception, leading the Raiders to a 16-14 come-from-behind win over the St. Louis Rams.
A sixth-round pick (194th overall) out of Pittsburgh by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the 6-1, 220-pound Gradkowski has started 16 games in his 4+ seasons in the NFL, which included two seasons with the Buccaneers and a one-year stopover with the Cleveland Browns before landing in Oakland in 2009.
Overall, Gradkowski has completed 53.2% of his 545 pass attempts for 2,986 yards, with 16 touchdowns and 17 interceptions for a passer rating of 66.0. A mobile quarterback, Gradkowski has added 291 yards with his legs.
Gradkowski’s legs and improvisation skills would offer protection to an offense line that has been sieve-like through two weeks, which deeply affects the pride of Cable, a former offensive line coach. Gradkowski’s best attribute at this point might be the trust that Cable and offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, who made the decision to change quarterbacks on Sunday, have in him.
Cable turned the offense over to Gradkowski late last season, and Gradkowski responded by protecting the football and leading the team to a pair of wins before two torn knee ligaments landed him on injured reserve.
Injuries are an issue with Gradkowski, who tore a pectoral muscle and strained his groin during the OTAs.