Bruce Gradkowski spoke with the media today during the locker room session. Half the media peppered Gradkowski with questions out on the field while the other half went to the locker room for other players. There’s a limited amount of time that the Raiders allow for media access, so the small group was hopeful to maximize what little time there is.
Unfortunately, the Raiders locker room had few players available for conversation. Rolando McClain strutted past Jerry McDonald with his nose up, saying something to the effect of ‘not today’. Jason Campbell told us that he couldn’t talk to us, saying, “I can’t talk to you guys. I would, but they asked me not to.”
Other players quickly scattered to meeting rooms, shower, or the breakfast table, but they made certain to get out of the locker room. Towards the end of the session, Zach Miller poked his head in, saw the waiting press, and did an about face out of there. Players such as Stanford Routt, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford, Johnnie Lee Higgins, and Shane Lechler didn’t fear the media, but none of them were high on the list for quotes.
Routt doesn’t underestimate the Cardinals’ offense. He remembers Derek Anderson and Larry Fitzgerald going to Pro Bowls and remembers Steve Breaston putting up 1,000 yards receiving during the Cardinals’ Super Bowl run, and he knows the equation that he doesn’t want for Sunday. “All I know is good quarterback plus good receivers with lack attention to details on defense equals a long day.”
With as potent as the Cardinals offense can be, Routt is hopeful he won’t be on the field too long on Sunday. That all depends on how well Gradkowski can move the offense and maintain control of the clock. Being in his second year with the Raiders, Gradkowski says there is more of a comfort level with the team than last season.
“This year, it’s a little more comfortable stepping in just knowing what I did last year and the guys around in the locker room I’ve played with,” said Gradkowski. “So, they know how I play and what I bring to the table.”
While he’s excited about being the starter, Gradkowski understands that in order to remain in that position, he’ll have to perform. “Our coaches just want to win,” said the Raiders’ starting quarterback. “We just want to win here and whatever we have to do, whatever it takes to win.”
“Like I said before, we have a good quarterback room. Jason’s a good quarterback. Kyle’s a good quarterback. There’s nothing against those guys. It’s just finding whatever we can do to win games. Yeah, it does put pressure on me to do my job, but you really can’t think about that. You got to go out, take it one play at a time and just do what you’re able to do.”
(LB) Slade Norris was cut to make room for the re-signing of (S) Stevie Brown and (LB) Quentin Scott to the practice squad. Scott, a 6’5″ rookie safety out of Northern Iowa, is wearing jersey number 56 and when reporters cornered him to find out what position he was playing, Scott shrugged his shoulders and said, “Safety, linebacker, I’m just a player.”
It’s safe to say that after his first practice, he has a better understanding of his position on the team. Here’s his 2009 bio from the Northern Iowa website:
2009: First-team all-Missouri Valley Football Conference selection at safety … selected to play in the Texas vs. The Nation All-Star Game … recorded five interceptions to lead all Panther defenders … led the team with nine passes defended and four break-ups … racked up 131 interception return yards, scoring one touchdown … finished sixth on the team with 49 total tackles … helped the Panther defense lead the MVFC in total defense and scoring defense … tallied eight tackles against Iowa … returned an interception 59 yards in a 35-7 victory at Missouri State … recorded nine tackles in a 42-27 win at North Dakota State … credited with five tackles, one tackle-for-loss, one interception and two pass break-ups against Southern Illinois … tallied a season-high 10 tackles and 1.5 tackles-for-loss at South Dakota State … earned MVFC Defensive Player of the Week honors after intercepting two passes, and returning the final one 45 yards for a TD, against Western Illinois … blocked a punt and intercepted a pass in the second half at Illinois State … started all 11 games.
Chaz Schilens (knee), Robert Gallery (hamstring), John Henderson (foot), and Travis Goethel (lower back) were not on the practice field during the media window.
more to come after the Cable press conference…