Oakland Raiders  

 

Boller, Campbell or Gradkowski? Raiders will wait to decide

  • By Associated Press
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ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Oakland Raiders quarterback Kyle Boller could make his first start of the season Sunday against the Denver Broncos. Or it could be Jason Campbell under center. Injured starter Bruce Gradkowski hasn't been ruled out, either.

For a second consecutive day, Raiders coach Tom Cable put off making a decision on who will start after all three quarterback practiced in some fashion Thursday.

Boller, who started four games with the St. Louis Rams in 2009 after four years as a starter for the Baltimore Ravens, took the initial snaps in practice with the Raiders' first-team offense and alternated reps with Campbell. Gradkowski worked out on his own in individual drills.

Boller is the healthiest of the three. Campbell injured his left knee during last weekend's 17-9 loss to the San Francisco 49ers and has been limping noticeably since. Gradkowski hasn't played since reinjuring his right shoulder in the first half of a Oct. 10 game against the San Diego Chargers.

"They all did a little bit more today, but it was kind of like yesterday in terms of rep breakdown and all that," Cable said. "It was pretty even for Kyle and Jason. Bruce did a lot of individual work and some light throwing but nothing more than that."

Cable hasn't ruled out any of the three quarterbacks, saying Gradkowski would be the starter if he's healthy. If he's unable to play and Campbell can, then the job is his.

Gradkowski would need to make significant progress in his recovery to be in the lineup Sunday.

"He felt really good today," Cable said. "Yesterday, it didn't bother him, and if he can do a lot tomorrow, who knows?"

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Campbell, handed the starting job in the offseason after being acquired in a trade with the Washington Redskins, also is hurting but is closer to playing than Gradkowski.

Cable said Campbell wouldn't have been able to play if the game was Thursday. Since the Raiders have a day before they fly to Denver, the coach will wait to see how Campbell is doing before making a decision.

Campbell earlier this week underwent an MRI, which was negative.

"I don't know that he could have (played) today," Cable said. "He could go back, call plays and throw it, but to be able to run and do the things he's got to be able to do, it'd be pretty iffy."

Even if Campbell is healthy, the Raiders might turn to Boller.

In last Sunday's loss to the 49ers, Campbell completed just 8 of 21 attempts for 83 yards and a career-low 10.7 rating. He has been booed during home games and was benched at halftime of Oakland's Week 2 victory over St. Louis, when Cable handed the job to Gradkowski.

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Regardless of who starts, the Raiders say they won't change their offense. That bodes well for Boller, who previously worked with Raiders offensive coordinator Hue Jackson when both were in Baltimore.

"I've pretty much stayed on top of it over the last six weeks, and that's part of your job," Boller said. "(It) doesn't matter if you're a starter, second-stringer or third-stringer. You have to always be into the game plan and doing just the same things the starter's doing, so I don't think I'll miss a beat."

Boller has made 46 career starts but never passed for more than 2,559 yards in one season. The 2003 first-round draft pick, by the Ravens, has more interceptions (50) than touchdowns (48) and possesses an NFL rating of 70.6 over six years.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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