Jay Gruden: Bruce Gradkowski is “the ultimate competitor”


Yesterday, Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski’s agent Rick Smith tweeted that Bruce would be joining the Cincinnati Bengals. It is believed to be a two-year deal, the financials have not been released yet. As with all free agents Gradkowski cannot officially sign anything until Friday at 6 pm.

In the wee hours of the morning, Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com released an article in which he interviewed Bengals’ Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden on the new quarterback hire. Here’s what Gruden had to say.

"“The one thing I don’t have to worry about both guys [Dalton and Gradkowski] is not being prepared. They’re always going to be ready to go and I know they both love football. That’s important … Sometimes [Gradkowski] is too tough for his own good … With Bruce you know you’re getting the ultimate competitor. You know he’s going to be reliable and mentally tough and ready to go every week.  I think he’s a great role model [for Dalton]. He knows how it’s done and how to prepare for whatever his role is. Starting, backing up. He was thrown into the fire at a young age in Tampa. He performed well. We didn’t have a great record, but he performed well. He’s won some big games” – Jay Gruden"

Hobson also revealed his feelings on why Gradkoski was signed and not a more expensive or well-known quarterback like Donovan McNabb (traded to Vikings), Vince Young, or Matt Hasselbeck (signed by Titans):

"“The intangibles are better than the numbers and that’s OK for Gruden. He’s not looking for Carson Palmer. The guy that has to do that is Dalton. Gruden is looking for his Kitna. Solid in the locker room. Bright with the offense. Mentor for the kid. And can win a game if need be” – Geoff Hobson"

"“But they’re not courting Gradkowski because of his 6-14 record, 65.9 career passer rating, and 5.7 career yards per attempt. It’s knowing the system, having the personality to mesh with Dalton, and managing games when called upon. It has sounded like Dalton is the training camp starter, but Gruden has emphasized the Opening Day starter might not be the same guy” – Geoff Hobson"

And finally, Hobson tweeted this:

I tend to agree with  with Hobson. Some fans are upset over Gradkowski, claiming that Mike Brown has simply gone for the cheap option again, citing Gradkowki’s statistics. I was orginally in favor of a bigger name guy like Vince Young or Donovan McNabb, but I have defnitely come around to the Gradkowski signing.

Gradkowski obviously isn’t the long-term solution at QB. If McNabb or Young had come to Cincinnati, they would want to be the starter for multiple years. McNabb or Young would have buried Dalton under the depth chart, and Mike Brown / Jay Gruden /Marvin Lewis clearly wants Andy Dalton to play. I want Andy Dalton to play too, and Gradkowski gives him that chance.

Whether Dalton plays on Day 1 of 2011 we have yet to find out.