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Gradkowski Falling, Boller Rising

Bruce Gradkowski can't seem to stay healthy. Among his ailments of the last two seasons are torn MCLs in both knees, a torn pectoral and sore groin.

Despite Gradkowski's extensive injury history he has started a few games and been moderately successful. The Raiders still brought in veteran help in Jason Campbell and Kyle Boller in the offseason.

It now appears Gradkowski could be looking up to both on the depth chart come September 12 in Tennessee.

It wasn't hard to imagine such a scenario given Gradkowski's injury history and the obvious match between Boller's skill set and the Raiders favored offensive scheme.

During mini-camp the Raiders quarterback spot was competition and it seemed the Raiders were content to wait for Gradkowski to rehab his pectoral.  That turned out not to be the case, training camp started and the starting quarterback was announced to be Jason Campbell.

Gradkowski never really had a shot to showcase he could be the starter and now training camp is over and Gradkowski finds himself in a virtual dead heat with Kyle Boller to be the primary backup.

With Gradkowski sidelined, Boller saw increased camp repetitions and saw prolonged time in the first two preseason games.

Boller has impressed and why wouldn't he? He has everything you look for in a franchise quarterback. Although Boller's career never took off and his decision making was always questionable he may just now be putting it together. Maybe, maybe not.

His stint with the Rams in 2009 was rocky, but what wasn't rocky about the 2009 Rams? He started eight games in 2007 for the Ravens and completed 61.1% of his passes for 1743 yards with 9 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Two of the interceptions came in relief, not as a starter.

What the media and in turn fans think the Raiders will do and are doing is often not the case.

Perhaps it wasn't Gradkowski that was in a competition with Campbell, but Boller all along. What other reason is there to announce a competition, but declare a winner before one of the players gets a chance?

There are other explanations and I'm not saying I'm right. I'm not even saying I am, but it would explain the way the Raiders have handled the position.

Gradkowski will get on the field this Saturday and you can't count the guy out. He's gritty and gutsy and just might blow Boller out of the water. Boller could also have one of his famous meltdowns.

If neither create further separation, the Raiders will probably go with the better scheme fit who has more tape in the Hue Jackson offense.


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