The Oakland Raiders once again find themselves in a financial crisis this off-season. The franchise itself struggles to stay in the Bay adding on even more pressure to the second year of the McKenzie/Allen era. As if the financial problems weren’t enough, most NFL experts will claim Oakland is the home of one of the least talented rosters in all the league. One cant help but agree as the defense has as many questions as someone who just finished watching LOST. Meanwhile the offense is left leaving Raider Nation and no doubt the receiving corps with one question. Who will be the Raider’s 2013 quarterback?
Football is a team sport so every position could determine the outcome of a game. With that said the responsibility of a team’s record almost always lands on the quarterback’s shoulders. In other words, he who slings the rock must be the rock. Joe Flacco has been boosted to the level of the quarterback elite following a Superbowl victory. Had the same man been on a team led by a coach like Greg Knapp and protected by linemen like Khalif Barnes whilst accumulating a losing record, that same Joe Flacco would have been pinned as the poster-child of problems by the media. Put simply, Oakland has a big question they need to answer.
Carson Palmer has spent a season and a half at the helm of the Raider’s offense. The former Heisman trophy winner has looked like a combination of Brett Favre and the guy from The Longest Yard who always eats too much popcorn (how does one find popcorn so often in a prison?). Due to Hue Jackson’s man crush on Palmer, the interception prone gunslinger is due a huge chunk of dough. Given McKenzie’s history of cutting potential key players, I expect an option to be given. Take a pay cut or hit the road. Door number one leaves the Raiders in the hands of a capable and experienced quarterback who already has a relationship with the team. Door number two leads Palmer finding work in a town like Jacksonville, Kansas City, or St. Louis.
Terrell Pryor ended the season with a pretty loud bang. The man was given the reins and showed the Raider Nation a future post-Palmer. The game played by the former Buckeye showed an athlete filled with potential and the capability of running an NFL level offense. If McKenzie opts to part ways with Palmer the stage may be left to Pryor. Everybody knows that when you have a weapon like Pryor the team will certainly draw an attendance thus helping finances. The Pryor option will also leave the team with more money to focus on the defensive side of the ball.
With the off-season underway a third option is opened up. The raiders could possibly draft a quarterback if not trade for one. Teams are often willing to give away an aging quarterback for a first round draft pick let alone a top ten draft pick. Geno Smith could possibly find himself wearing a silver and black cap come draft day. Although if it were to come down to this option I would just as well let Pryor run the offense then a rookie. The Raiders may trade for a quarterback who has played sub par as of late such as Blaine Gabbert or Sam Bradford.
In the end my prediction would be to see Palmer take a pay cut. I also would expect to see an explosive and deadly offense similar to that of Hue Jackson’s in 2013. A healthy Darren McFadden in a new scheme with a more experienced receiving corps bodes well for the Raiders. Pryor may also see his role increased and one day may even take over for Palmer. However to see the Raiders make a playoff run it will take one hell of a job by Reggie McKenzie as the defense must be built from the ground up. Until the regular season rolls around Raider Nation will be left with questions like these. Although one cannot have faith without questions. So it is faith in McKenzie, faith in Allen, and faith in our team we must rely on.