As I look at the Oakland Raiders off-season moves during free agency, it’s easy for me to see the direction this team was headed. According to Oakland Raiders Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson, “We knew this was the guy we wanted.” That statement was in reference to quarterback Matt Schaub. Both General Manager Reggie McKenzie and Head Coach Dennis Allen had alluded to the fact that the starting quarterback was not on their roster. Then, the Raiders fired up all cylinders and went after the QB they wanted.
Prior to the acquisition of Schaub, the Oakland Raiders circled the wagons and grabbed proven offensive linemen to shore up problems that existed during the 2013 season. Pass protection for a pocket passing quarterback was their main objective. Enter in Donald Penn (LT), Austin Howard (RT), and Kevin Boothe (RG). The Raiders re-signed Khalif Barnes as a security blanket for the right tackle or guard positions. Add these players into a cast of younger linemen, and the makings of a very good line are in order.
Rounding out the remaining offensive line is Stefen Wisniewski (C) and Menelik Watson (LG). Lucas Nix, Lamar Mady, Jack Cornell, Jarrod Shaw, Tony Bergstrom, and Mike Brisiel are all still there for depth, and Matt McCants and Tony Pashos are available to the Raiders at low-cost if they want to add even more depth or competition. The Raiders went heavy on offensive linemen, and it was in order to protect a pocket passer while keeping with the run first philosophy.
Now we all know that defense wins championships. A great example of that was the Seattle Seahawks defeat of the supposed power house offense of the Denver Donkeys, I mean Broncos, no, I mean Donkeys in the Super Bowl. The Seahawks defense totally shut down everything that Peyton Manning tried to throw their way. The Seahawks also provided a great blue-print on how to beat Manning. So, the Raiders obtained some proven pass rushers and run stoppers through free agency.
The writing is on the wall for the Raiders, they are going to bolster their already impressive veteran defense with rookie studs. Hmmm, building through the draft? I remember last year the pundits were hammering the Raiders by stating that their team didn’t have enough veteran presence. Now, they are slamming on the Raiders for having too many veterans. I believe this is the way to go, and they will obtain depth in this years draft.
Matt Schaub will help the Raiders offense to score at least 3 touchdowns each game, and he will give the defense the ability to stop the opposing offense. If our defense can stop other teams from scoring 3 or more touchdowns, then the Matt Schaub offense can provide enough points to keep the lead.
The players the Raiders draft this year should eliminate any doubt Raider Nation has for the 2014 season. Think of it this way, if the Raiders entered the season with Matt McGloin, Terrelle Pryor, Trent Edwards, and a rookie quarterback, then the Raiders would be in the same boat as 2013. With Matt Schaub, the Raiders provide themselves with a proven quarterback to lead the team as a true starter would. In the end, it will come down to the coaching and play calling, but the Raiders have allowed themselves to become true contenders in a tough AFC West.