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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Gradkowski expected to vie for role as Rams 3rd QB

    BY STEVE KORTE
    News-Democrat

    ST. LOUIS --
    Bruce Gradkowski is learning that you have to roll with the changes in the NFL.

    Two years after starting 11 games as a rookie for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Gradkowski finds himself with the St. Louis Rams battling for the job of third-string quarterback.

    Gradkowski welcomed both the change of scenery and opportunity to compete with Brock Berlin for a roster spot.

    "I just look at it that I was very fortunate to play as a rookie," Gradkowski said. "A lot of young guys don't get thrown into action that fast, and I was fortunate to get that many starts, that many reps. It was a great learning experience under coach (Jon) Gruden and his staff there.

    "I am fortunate to get with another team, and this team looks like a solid one. I'm excited to be here. The veteran quarterbacks that are here have got it done in the past. I'm excited to learn from (them)."

    The Rams claimed Gradkowski, 25, off waivers from the Buccaneers on June 5.

    "Bruce has a great background of playing at a young age in this league," Rams coach Scott Linehan said.

    Linehan said he evaluated Gradkowski coming out of the University of Toledo before the 2006 NFL Draft.

    "He's a very productive player who played in a very productive offense in college," Linehan said of Gradkowski, who threw for 9,197 yards with 85 touchdowns and 27 interceptions in three seasons as the starter at the University of Toledo.

    "He has a real live arm, and he has a good athletic presence to him. He has the ability to move and buy time and create plays. Just the fact that he came in and played as a rookie as he did is pretty rare. I think that will give him a lot of confidence in his competition with Brock."

    Linehan cautioned not to count out Berlin, who was the Rams' starting quarterback in a 19-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals last December.

    "We're very happy with Brock's progress, too," Linehan said. "Going into camp, I think it's going to be a great competition, we hope, at every position."

    Gradkowski was selected in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL Draft, and he ended up starting 11 games in place of an injured Chris Simms as a rookie. The Buccaneers posted a 3-8 record in Gradkowski's starts.

    "I think the experience as a rookie helped me tremendously," Gradkowski said. "Just getting a feel for the game and how things worked in the NFL with the speed of things, and getting to be in a huddle with the guys, the veterans. I feel comfortable. I know I can play in this league for sure. It's just a matter of getting the right opportunity."

    Gradkowski said he knew the Buccaneers were going to whittle down their stockpile of quarterbacks. They had seven quarterbacks on their roster counting the retired Jake Plummer.

    "I wanted something to happen," Gradkowski said. "I had two years there, and it was a great learning experience. I learned a lot, but I knew as an opportunity that wasn't the spot for me right now as a young guy. I was happy to get out of there while I could and get a chance to get somewhere else before camp started."

    Gradkowski said he has come across a few familiar faces with the Rams. Assistant head coach and running backs coach Art Valero and tight end Anthony Becht also come from the Buccaneers, while rookie offensive lineman John Greco blocked for Gradowski for two years at Toledo.

    Gradkowski is getting a crash course in the Rams' new offense, which he said was ''pretty much totally opposite what I ran in Tampa." He took part in individual drills during the Rams' light practices called Organized Team Activities this week, but he was only a spectator during team drills as Marc Bulger, Trent Green and Berlin took the snaps from center.

    "They just want me to watch right now, which is understandable," Gradkowski said. "Hey, there are three guys that are doing well out there. I have a chance to learn from them."

    Even though OTAs are officially over, Gradkowski said he planned on sticking around St. Louis for the next week or two, trying to learn the Rams' offense.

    "I'm trying to catch up as fast as I can," Gradkowski said.

    The Rams won't practice again until training camp opens July 25 at Concordia University in Mequon, Wis.

    Rams rookies will continue meeting at Rams Park until heading off to the NFL Rookie Symposium in late June in Carlsbad, Calif.

    Linehan said many of the veteran players also will stick around St. Louis for a couple of more weeks to work on their conditioning in preparation for training camp.

    "We're not in a position where we can say, 'Hey, we've worked hard, let's go on vacation,"' Linehan said. "It's a break from the structure of what we're doing, but I think everybody knows we have to take our (play) books and continue to condition. They know when training camp starts, and they know it's going to be a real challenging camp, and the key now is to get ready for that."


  2. #2
    Mooselini's Avatar
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    Re: Gradkowski expected to vie for role as Rams 3rd QB

    I wonder if he is the future QB of this franchise.

  3. #3
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    Re: Gradkowski expected to vie for role as Rams 3rd QB

    Quote Originally Posted by Mooselini View Post
    I wonder if he is the future QB of this franchise.

    I dont believe so. While living in Tampa i got to see all the Bucs games, and all the games that he played and/or started in. He did show some flashes of solidarity but im noit sold on him becoming a starter for the rams. I think at best he could become 2nd string behind Bulger in a couple years, and if we havent picked up a replacement for Bulger when the time comes to groom someone, Gradkowski will be there to be the #1 till we can find someone better. He is good, but i dont think hes good enough to be our starter. If im wrong, then thats awesome, we can save a draft pick or dont have to worry about a trade.

    And he also was in a completely diffrent system down in Tampa, that could be a big factor in it. Lets see how well he can adapt to Saunders playbook.
    Last edited by Tampa_Ram; -06-14-2008 at 02:14 PM.


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    KoaKoi is offline Registered User
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    Re: Gradkowski expected to vie for role as Rams 3rd QB

    I was gonna point out the system difference Tampa until you ended with that point, so i'm happy to say i agree with you. No one will know for some time, but i'm excited to see him in the preseason. I saw a few of his Buc games on tv, and he looked to stand pretty tall for a rookie. my hope is that he's learned to be scrappy from Garcia, and now he can learn to be smart, from Bulger & Saunders

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    Re: Gradkowski expected to vie for role as Rams 3rd QB

    He better beat out Berlin!

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    Re: Gradkowski expected to vie for role as Rams 3rd QB

    Quote Originally Posted by chipperjones View Post
    He better beat out Berlin!
    That one poster who calls Brock 'his boy' and 'the future of the franchise' will be shattered if it happens.

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