ALAMEDA (AP) — Oakland Raiders quarterback Kyle Boller could make his first start of the season this week against Denver. Then again, it could be Jason Campbell under center. Injured starter Bruce Gradkowski hasn’t been ruled out, either.
Coach Tom Cable put off making a decision for a second straight day on who to start after all three practiced in some fashion Thursday.
Boller, who started four games for St. Louis in 2009 after four years as a starter in Baltimore, took the initial snaps in practice with Oakland’s 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 in last week’s 17-9 loss at San Francisco and has been limping noticeably since. Gradkowski hasn’t played since re-injuring his right shoulder in the first half against San Diego on Oct. 10.
“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, 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 against Denver.
“He felt really good today,” Cable said. “Yesterday it didn’t bother him and if he can do a lot tomorrow, who knows?”
Campbell, handed the starting job in the offseason after being acquired in a trade from Washington, is also hurting but is closer to playing than Gradkowski.
Cable said Campbell would not 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 and see how Campbell is doing before making a decision.
Campbell underwent an MRI earlier this week which proved 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 may turn to Boller.
In last week’s loss to San Francisco, Campbell completed only 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 win over St. Louis, when Cable handed the job to Gradkowski.
Regardless of who the starter is, 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 46 career starts but has never passed for more than 2,559 yards in one season. A 2003 first-round draft pick of the Ravens, Boller has more interceptions (50) than touchdowns (48) and owns an NFL rating of 70.6 over six years.
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