Ever read an article that just pissed you off to no extent? Well, I read one about Oakland Raiders WR Denarius Moore that sent me through the roof. No, I’m not naming names or websites, but the article was composed very poorly. There was a lot of blame placed on Moore’s shoulders, with little blame being placed where it was necessary.
Now, I will admit that I am going to tick off some people with this post as well. I will be discussing the wonderful position of QB that the Oakland Raiders haven’t had for so long, and there are those out there that believed in some of the players that were and are on the roster. I too found myself believing in players that would never make it, at least not yet, unless they were allowed good enough tutelage from a worthy veteran QB.
The fact is, there are no receivers without a QB. Let’s face it, if you peer into the past and look at the great receivers of all time, they all have one thing in common, a QB. Now I’m not saying they had the best QB’s, but the ones these elite receivers had were pretty good (Joe Montana, Steve Young, Ken Stabler, Terry Bradshaw, Johnnie Unitas, Bart Starr, Joe Namath, Bobby Layne, Len Dawson, Jim Kelley, Roger Staubach, Dan Marino, Fran Tarkenton, Brett Favre, John Elway, Otto Graham, Troy Aikman, and Sammy Baugh). The list of great QB’s was in no particular order, and in some cases I could go on and on with some other names as well. The point I’m trying to make is simple, without a great compliment to the greatest WR’s, there are no great WR’s.
Currently, there are some great QB’s in the league, some very good QB’s in the league, and then there are the others. These others are serviceable QB’s that coaches have built a system around, and it works for those particular teams (i.e., Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers, etc…). The great ones currently in the game are more than obvious. These particular QB’s have made the WR’s around them great (i.e., Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Ben Roethlisberger). Then there are the very good QB’s out there who may not have the best team built around them (i.e., St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons, San Diego Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, you get the picture).
Now, I purposely left off the Detroit Lions team to make a point. The point is, there are times when a team has an extremely good QB (Matthew Stafford) and an elite WR (Calvin Johnson), but they lack the OL to get them to the next level. Unfortunately for the Lions, this is exactly the case for them. Although, there are some holes they need to address on defense as well. In the case of the Lions, it is very clear where the holes are.
In the case of the Oakland Raiders, there were a ton of holes left from a decade of poor decision-making, inflated contracts, etc… I don’t need to go into this, because Raider Nation is well aware of the problems this team has faced. Since about 2011 or 2012, this team has been immersed in a rebuilding project that almost feels never-ending at times. However, it is on the mend.
With this mend comes questions about all positions and players of course, but none more questioned than the QB position. With a huge following of Raiders fans supporting the ongoing development of Terrelle Pryor, it was no surprise that the decision to bring in Matt Schaub was going to be controversial. Still, Schaub has proven more to the NFL than Pryor has, and Schaub gives the Raiders that veteran presence so needed at the QB position. Pryor must have a system built around his particular talents in order for him to have success, and the Raiders weren’t willing to do this. As in the case of most NFL teams, the Raiders wanted a pocket-passing QB who can be that field-general for the team. Pryor didn’t fit the bill, and he was traded away.
The same can be said for Matt McGloin. Although, it is my belief that if McGloin was given the right set of circumstances, he could flourish in the NFL and possibly be a Drew Brees type of player. He has much to learn, but that’s why a QB needs time to transition from college to the NFL. McGloin would also need an organization to believe in him, which I don’t think the Raiders do.
In Matt Schaub, the Raiders get a veteran QB who is a pocket-passer, and one who has been very successful. Yes, his 2013 campaign was very forgettable, but everyone deserves a chance to bounce back. I truly think that Schaub still has a lot left in his tank, and he has learned from his mistakes. With this upgraded OL that the Raiders have pieced together through free agency and the draft, Schaub will find the time to make the right decisions and reads. Already, the Raiders WR’s are ecstatic about how well Schaub throws the ball, and they have been raving about his quick and decisive throws. The chemistry between QB and WR still needs to be fully forged, but Schaub is very happy with the weapons he gets to throw to.
One of those weapons he so highly speaks about is Denarius Moore. Moore has a chance to become that same breakout player he showed all of Raider Nation he could be in 2011. Yes, he has much to prove, but he has natural ability that gives him an edge over most. The clear number ones are Rod Streater and James Jones, but Moore would thrive in the slot position. With most teams dedicating their best CB’s to cover Streater and Jones, Moore would usually face a LB, S, or Nickel Corner. With Moore’s speed, he could find the openings in the defense to get the hard yards (Much like Wes Welker or Julian Edelman do for their respective teams). It just comes down to how bad he wants it.
Enter in the 2nd draft pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, QB Derek Carr. Carr has emerged as the number 2 QB headed into Training Camp behind Matt Schaub. This is a very good spot for Carr to remain through the next couple of seasons, as long as Schaub can regain his winning ways. This way, Carr can learn and grow to become the QB of the future without the pressure of guiding the team to the playoffs. I don’t think he is ready to be the number one just yet. However, if Schaub cannot brush away his interception-throwing 2013 season, then the Raiders have nothing to lose by grooming Carr in the driver’s seat. Unfortunately, that would mean that Raider Nation will have to endure another up and down season in 2014. Let’s hope this is not the case.
Where am I going with all of this? The Oakland Raiders have very good QB’s on the team in Matt Schaub, Derek Carr, and I’ll even lump Matt McGloin in the mix. This makes for a better team headed into the 2014 Training Camp. The defense is much improved just in the additions in the off-season along with the offensive line getting an overhaul. This is a better team headed into Training Camp. Factor in the WR’s, FB’s (Marcel Reece!), RB’s, and TE’s (Mychal Rivera!), and the Raiders will be competitive in 2014. The competitive team will grow out of a very competitive and tight race that will flourish in Training Camp.
There are WR’s on the hot seat (i.e., Juron Criner, Greg Jenkins, Andre Holmes, Seth Roberts, Mike Davis, Greg Little, Rashaan Vaughn, and Brice Butler). Those will be the WR’s that must prove their worth. Some of them will be best served as Special Teams gurus, and they can be added in on 4 and 5 WR sets. Yet, there is always a chance for one of them to emerge as a clear starter in Training Camp. You never know. Still, the improved QB position will make the WR position better. I look forward to a great year of Oakland Raiders football. Go Raiders!