WHAT JUST HAPPENED?
I had to get upon Monday morning and check the score, I know Guinness is good but surely not that good.No, we really did beat the Superbowl Champion Steelers in their own stadium, with Ben Roethlisberger back in the team, and with a banged up offensive line.No point in debating the merits of JaMarcus Russell and whether he can get back in the starting line up or not, in fact that is the last time that I am going to write his name unless Bruce Gradkowski is unfortunate enough to get injured.
As was mentioned in commentary of the game, this is Gradkowski's team.Bruce is the starting Quarterback of the Oakland Raiders.
He may or may not be the long term answer, although he is a clear improvement on the other guy whose name I am not going to write.I have been looking at the Raider Nation's reaction to Gradkowski around the message boards since Sunday nights win, and there have been comments like, "he rode his luck" and "he basically threw a hail mary,and by a miracle i think murphy caught it".
Who cares, what I care about is that with Dr Evil, sorry Bruce Gradkowski, at Quarterback the team has shown that it can win games, come back and win games, and we are not a laughing stock on the field of play.He has also shown leadership, which is something that was seriously lacking from you know who.And for gods sake let's be happy with a good win, a really good win, in a tough road game.Let's be happy that the OAKLAND RAIDERS looked like the OAKLAND RAIDERS for a change, even the receivers are starting to hold onto the ball, it helps that DHB has been benched, sorry I mean injured, but maybe it also helps that they know where the ball will be to a degree of certainty.Louis Murphy is looking like he can play at the NFL level, and with Miller, Schilens and JLH we suddenly look to have some receiving threat.
If Bruce Gradkowski plays well for the rest of the year, there is the possibility that he won't be in Oakland next season.He will be out of contract, so Al will have to pay him to keep him around, he is making in the region of $530,000 for this year while the other guy is due to earn $9.4 million in 2010.I know who I would rather have on the roster.The question is, will Al Davis pay Gradkowski and let him have the opportunity to beat the other guy to the job in camp this time?
I hope the answer is yes, surely he has shown enough to get that chance if indeed he wants it, after all he may well have a couple of teams looking his way come the offseason and see his future elsewhere, especially if the RAIDERS are making noises about the other guy being the starter.
The resurgence of Vince Young will also help the cause of the other guy, as I'm sure that Al will be clinging to the possibility that all those guaranteed millions have bought more than fur coats and Rolls Royce's.There is always the chance that the penny will drop with the big lump, and Al has made a rod for his own back by stating in the Kiffin press conference that you know who would be a great QB, which suggests that he will be given more time by the owner.In the meantime I'll be thankful for Bruce almighty.At least I can watch a RAIDERS game at the moment and it be fun to watch, at least I can look forward to it and not wince every time our Quarterback let's go of the football, and if we do go behind in the game, I actually feel like we still have a chance.More importantly the team must feel the same way too, no-one has come out with direct criticism of the former starter, but they aren't blind or stupid.
We have four games left in this season, and the RAIDERS actually have a shot at .500.It's a slim shot, and next weeks opponent the Redskins just pushed New Orleans all the way, but bugger me I'm at least thinking it's a possibility, which wouldn't have been possible a few weeks ago.
Maybe there should be another billboard erected on the freeway in Oakland, "Mr Davis, please bring Gradkowski back in 2010, even if he wants a Katrillion dollars!"