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OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 19: Bruce Gradkowski #5 of the Oakland Raiders is congratulated by Zach Miller #80 after they beat the St. Louis Rams at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 19, 2010 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Bruce Gradkowski;Zach Miller
Raider Nation loves its newly-promoted cult hero quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, but odds makers do not share the affection for the little journeyman underdog from Toledo. Vegas picks the Oakland Raiders to lose by four or more in Sunday's late game contest with the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.
It's Gradkowski's first start since the Raiders' shocking switcheroo at quarterback this week. All off-season, the Raiders had been grooming their prized free agent acquisition Jason Campbell for the job.
Veteran Sports Illustrated football analyst Peter King weighs in favorably on the Raiders' unconventional move.
"This (AFC West) is a winnable division," King tells SI.com. "I think they're looking at this as a way of saying, 'Hey we have to do whatever gives us the best chance to win right now'. And obviously, watching them the first two weeks, Bruce Gradkowski is the guy who looks like he gives them the best chance to win."
The benched Jason Campbell will not be weighing in with his opinion on the move. Vittorio Tafur reports in the San Francisco Chronicle that Campbell "was asked by the team not to talk to reporters."
But the Polish Cannon Bruce Gradkowski is firing away. "Coach Cable told us the news, and I was excited," Gradkowski told the Chronicle. "But the excitement ends right there. I really haven't done nothing in my mind."
It appears more and more likely that Gradkowski will have another of the Raiders' most potent weapons to work with Sunday. Last year's leading rusher Michael Bush was not in any way limited in practice Thursday, the Chronicle reports, and is likely to make his 2010 debut against the Cardinals.