The Oakland Raiders have had two of the biggest upsets all season long in the NFL. In Week 6 they played the Eagles and upset them and this past Sunday they beat the other team in Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Editor’s note: They upset the Bengals as well) The Raiders have had their share of criticism this year and constant headlines. Between Al Davis, JaMarcus Russell, the #1 pick that hasn’t done anything yet, and the new head coach Tom Cable, who know is most known for decking an assistant coach and almost being arrested for it. Common theme here: Nothing positive. Well, let me drop a little positive energy on the team, Bruce Gradkowski. He is the spark in the team the last few weeks.
They are only 2-2 since their bye week, but have beaten Pittsburgh and the Bengals in those two wins. Gradkowski has taken over as the starting quarterback and there is some optimism back in Oakland. He threw for 308 yards and three touchdowns including two long 4th quarter drives to get the win. He has now has now led two winning drives in the final two minutes in three weeks. Can we saw playoffs in Oakland? Well not yet, but at least they wont be drafting first next season in the NFL Draft, maybe sixth or seventh.
Bruce Gradkowski joined KNBR in San Francisco to talk about the big win against the Steelers on Sunday, what’s in the water in Pennsylvania that makes such good quarterbacks, and coming to Oakland despite JaMarcus Russell being the #1 at the time.
Asked how tough it was in the locker room in the early part of the season:
“Its tough to stay positive especially in this business, there are so many high and lows, you got to stay ready in between. I think it was easy because we saw on film that we could get it done. How close we were, we had plays that we weren’t making. A route might be off here or there, you know just little things. It was a mixture of everyone of offense. It was encouraging to see that. We have to stay working, we have to stay disciplined and eventually it will come along. I give the guys credit, a lot of guys just keep working hard, and that’s one thing about this team is have some good people and some good character guys. No one has laid down yet and it’s good to see that.”
Asked what it was like to win near his hometown and have family in the stadium:
“It was amazing; you couldn’t draw it up on paper any better. It was very special to have my whole family there for it. There is a lot of greats that have come out of Pittsburgh and to even be mentioned in the same sentence its humbling but also I look at it is, Come on we are talking about Dan Marino, Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana. I haven’t done anything yet so don’t put me in that category.”
Asked about what he said to Mario Henderson in the huddle during the game:
“It was one point during the two minute drive that I felt a couple of the offensive lineman after an incomplete pass, they were kind of walking back to the huddle, gathering around but looking at the scoreboard to watch the replay. It really made me mad because it’s the two minute drill and we have to hurry up as it is. So I kind of got after him and told him ‘Get in this huddle, we can watch the scoreboard after we score’. Those guys mean well, they just kind of wanted to watch to see what they did wrong or right. You know it’s just the intensity out there, they know I love them and I am competing with them and its all in good fun. I just want to win so bad and at that time I was just like get in this huddle.”