Just for a brief moment in time, I would like for you to throw out all the negative thoughts or opinions regarding a QB’s arm strength. Focus on the fact that a QB’s job is to get the football moving down the field toward the end zone in any way necessary. A QB who has lost some zip on their throws can be successful in the NFL, and it has happened in the past. Now, stats are padded by a lot of things. Some QB’s make a living dumping the ball off to WR’s who in turn get a ton of YAC (yards after the catch). RB’s also contribute to the stat sheet by taking a short dump off pass, flat pass, or screen pass, and they turn it into a big gainer (RAC- run after the catch). This is how and why the West Coast Offense was created.
Aaron Rodgers lives and thrives within a West Coast style of offense. He throws a ton of screens and short passes that his WR’s take to the house or get major yardage for him. This is an element that has been missing in Oakland for so long, because Al Davis believed in his “Bomb it down the field” or “High flying offense” type of system. This required a QB with a big arm. Well, times have changed. Even the great Payton Manning makes his living within this West Coast style of offense where he relies heavily on his WR’s and RB’s and TE’s to get open within 1-15 yards. Those WR’s, RB’s, and TE’s of his then turn those short throws into big gainers.
In short, all Matt Schaub, or Derek Carr, or Matt McGloin have to do is live and thrive comfortably within this West Coast system that Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson has designed for the Oakland Raiders. For now, that responsibility falls upon Schaub’s shoulders. Schaub has been named the #1 QB on the Depth Chart, and until he proves to be totally incompetent, he will continue to be. Therefor, Schaub must show improvement this week by making more decisive throws that are timed much better. His WR’s, TE’s, and RB’s job is to “CATCH” the ball and get YAC yards.
So, if Schaub throws a few screen passes that turn into 20-30 yard plays, he is doing the job he was assigned to do. If he throws a bunch of slants, or corner routes, out routes, back shoulder throws, etc…, he is doing his job. It’s not the prettiest thing to watch in the world, I’ll admit, but it is necessary in this day and age of football.
The Raiders can beat the Green Bay Packers if Schaub is able to get the football moving down the field with little to no mistakes. That’s a tall order against the Packers defensive front. So, the responsibility will also be placed heavily upon the shoulders of the offensive line to keep Schaub upright and give him time to go through his reads. So far, there has been a slow and steady progression from one game to the next, and I will look to see the improvement continue.
It’s a “Dress Rehearsal” game, in which the starters should play a full two quarters and part of the third quarter. Usually 1-2 series after halftime. Raider Nation will get a full dose of Matt Schaub against a very good Packers defense. The demons he supposedly excised may try to pop up again, but it will be Schaub’s job to block them out of his psyche and move on. This is what I am looking to see in Schaub as well as the movement of the ball down the field. If he’s got his mojo back, then it’s time to be confident and lead the Raiders down the field to a victory. Go Raiders.