The Raiders quarterback questions were supposed to be answered with the addition of Matt Schaub this off-season. However, a mediocre showcase in the preseason has fans questioning whether he is ready to lead the team.
To make matters worse, Schaub has been struggling with tendinitis amplifying questions about his arm strength upholding during the NFL season.
Even if the coaching staff is not worried about Schaub, they should be. His elbow problems come right after the third preseason game which is renowned as the ‘dress reheresal,’ because teams traditionally play their starters more than any other exhibition game.
Insert rookie quarterback Derek Carr. Drafted as the future of the position, the time is now to make Carr the starter.
“Raiders QB Matt Schaub is dealing with tendinitis. My understanding is staff feels Derek Carr is ready to start, if needed” from Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer)
Sure the coaches have confidence in his abilities, but it is time to tailor the offense to Carr’s physical gifts. Well Schaub has underwhelmed with his arm strength, Carr showed he had one of the most impressive arms in the draft.
NFL analyst Mike Mayock on Carr, ” A lot of teams thought he was the best pure thrower in draft. I love the way this kid throws the football.”
With NFL teams relying more on the pass, Carr has the natural ability to lead a fearsome passing attack for Oakland.
The Fresno State Bulldog stand-out played primarily out of shotgun in college, and the Raiders have plenty of offense weapons to spread out their offense for Carr.
Some of these weapons include the receiver position which is one of the deepest positions on the entire roster. Andre Holmes and Rod Streater are big receivers who would thrive with Carr’s big arm throwing to them down the field.
Also, Denarius Moore has the explosive play-making ability, and James Jones brings consistent productivity to the position. Those four guys on the field at the same time makes opposing defenses play honestly against the run and the pass.
Tight end Mycheal Rivera leaves some to be desired in the blocking category, but a spread offense will allow him to move off of the line and create mismatches in the slot.
Speaking of mismatches, Marcel Reece, Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew are all more than capable pass catchers out of the back-field. A pass heavy offense will give them the ball in space, and hopefully allow them to make plays.
Further, A spread offense will also put less defenders in the box and showcase the runners’ ability to make plays. More pistol formation looks should help Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew get more explosive when hitting the running-holes.
Added, these formations can help showcase Carr’s athletic ability. His rushing statistics in college do not jump off of the page, but his sub 4.7 40 yard time does.
While many want Carr to be a pocket passer, his speed adds another variable to the Raiders’ offense. Streater showed he can get open on those scramble plays with Terrelle Pryor last season, and maybe a young Carr can have the same effect.
Besides natural physical abilities, Carr has the mental capacity to handle a complicated NFL offense as he is the younger brother of former No. 1 pick David Carr who helped him read offenses from a young age.
On the other hand, one of the knocks on Carr has been his ability to face a pass rush due to bad bowl game against USC.
Seeing Carr live against Dallas, in the scrimmage, showed me he does have ‘happy feet’ facing the pass rush. However, the Raiders invested all that money in the offensive line, this off-season, to keep their quarterback upright. Throwing him in as a starter means the Raiders will find out if he can adapt to a pass rush sooner rather than later.
Even if consensus opinion says the Raiders should wait and nurture Carr, Dennis Allen and Reggie McKenzie might not have the time to wait.
Ideally, grooming Carr along slowly ensures he will stay healthy and confident but what better way to nurture confidence than saying the rookie is their starter. As the starter, Carr will show the Raiders if he is truly the future.
Moreover, this off-season the organization invested money and time on the defense end, but it will not do them any good if Schaub can not sustain drives by completing down field throws on third down. An offense that can not stay on the field does no favors for their defense.
Finally, offensive coordinator Greg Olsen has received credit for tailoring his offense to the players, in the past. If he wants to continue that reputation, he needs to create an offense for Derek Carr to succeed.
Not only is the rookie quarterback the future of the franchise, but he is the best quarterback to lead the offense right now. The coaching staff should realize that now before it costs them their job security.