Inside Gradkowski's hot start

December, 10, 2009
12/10/09
11:00
AM ET
A couple of weeks ago, I enlisted the help of Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. to break down Bruce Gradkowski when he took over for JaMarcus Russell as the starting quarterback in Oakland.

Gradkowski
Williamson thought Gradkowski would help Oakland more than Russell did, but he admits Gradkowski has been better than he thought. Gradkowski is 2-1 as Oakland’s starter and both of his wins came in the final seconds. Gradkowski was named the AFC offensive player of the week after he threw for 308 yards and three touchdowns in Oakland’s 27-24 win over the Steelers.

This week, I turned back to Williamson to get his thoughts on Gradkowski. Here are some highlights:

“Bruce reminds me of Jeff Garcia. He is frenetic, he is always moving his feet and he makes plays. Bruce isn’t turning the ball over. When you do that, you have a chance to win.

“I think the next four games will tell a lot about whether Bruce can be the guy in Oakland next year. If he plays well, maybe Oakland should address other needs in the offseason and give Bruce a chance next year. But at the very least, he looks like a perennial backup now and that’s great. A few weeks ago, Bruce looked like a borderline roster guy. He’s made himself a lot of money.

“Russell looks worse than ever now that Bruce is doing well. It shows that Russell did have something to work with in Oakland. We all thought Russell had nothing to work with, but Bruce is getting a lot out of those guys. This makes Russell look really bad.”

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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