Explaining The Oakland Raiders Quarterback Situation
By Jordan Trask
Aug 28, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Assessing Derek Carr
A young quarterback is just as risky as starting an uncertain veteran. The difference is, Schaub may already be broken, while a rookie or 2nd year QB can still be fixed and adjusted. If you don’t set a young quarterback up for success, he may never come close to his potential. (Some of you feel this way about Terrelle Pryor.) At the same time, Dennis Allen knows he can surround an unproven QB with a good offensive line, running back depth, and an emerging defense. It’s just a matter of time before one of the Raiders quarterbacks emerge as the starter. But don’t expect Allen to give you a clear answer. It would do his QB room injustice and he shouldn’t care if it upsets the media and fans.
There is no point in rushing Derek Carr into a starting role. According to NFL.com, Carr’s production was “inflated by [the] spread offense and porous Mountain West Conference defenses.” There was also legitimate concern with his performance against USC in the Las Vegas Bowl. His completion percentage and touchdown-to-interception-ratio was overlooked because of the risk involved with smaller school prospects.
Leading up to the draft my concern was his ability to adapt to the speed of the NFL game while standing in the pocket amidst some of the best athletes in the world. The aforementioned concerns play a crucial role in the success or failure of an NFL quarterback. When you invest in a player early in the 2nd round, you need to ensure he’s ready before risking that investment. With tough divisional games along with NFC West teams looming, 2014 wouldn’t be an ideal year to throw a rookie QB into the fire. Unless he proves capable.
After going 30/45 (67%) for 326 yards and 4 touchdowns in the preseason, many think Derek Carr did enough to become the Raiders starting QB. Although preseason doesn’t present too much of a challenge, Carr has surpassed Matt McGloin as the preseason’s most efficient passer. But the Raiders want to make sure he knows they aren’t convinced he is ready to become their starter. Spectator opinion will never matter in the NFL and the Raiders won’t give Carr a chance until they feel he is 100% ready.
As a rookie, Carr has brought energy and passion to the offense. Some quarterbacks come into the league and are handed a starting role. The Raiders have handled their current situation the right way by making Carr realize nothing is given away in the NFL. This also sets a precedent within the locker room. All along, McKenzie and Allen have known the best thing for Carr is to sit and learn. Almost every player doesn’t even reach their full potential until year 3. At the same time, the maturation of McGloin along with Schaub’s experience, gives Carr an obvious advantage.
When McKenzie landed Aaron Rodgers with the 24th pick in 2005, he had the same concerns as he does with Carr. Rodgers could have been a capable starter as a rookie, but the Packers had the luxury of having a proven veteran QB on the roster. They may have struggled with him on the bench, but once Rodgers hit the field for the first time, he was ready. The rest is history.
Not only does a rookie need to prove he can play, but he needs to prove he can be a leader. I know it’s cliche, but football is the ultimate team sport and the QB is the definitive leader. Dennis Allen allowed Carr to focus on his development while avoiding media speculation by naming Matt Schaub the starter. The Raiders are standing firm in their process and reminding Carr that he still has a long way to go to un-seat Schaub. That’s not a bad thing. The good news is, Thursday’s game boosted Carr’s confidence while his teammate’s confidence in him grew.
The successful quarterbacks in this league continue to work on their craft no matter what, and the Raiders don’t want to “start the Carr” just yet. They’re going to do everything in their power to pinpoint all of his mistakes and force him to correct them in a short amount of time. They drafted him as a potential starter, but mainly to push Schaub and McGloin this season. Why play a potential starter when they haven’t reached their full potential yet?
Don’t be shocked to see Schaub
Don’t be surprised to see Schaub start against the Jets. Don’t be upset about it either. Reggie and DA are doing what’s best for the Raiders quarterback situation. They’ll continue to express confidence in Matt Schaub to try to get the best out of him. If his best isn’t good enough then it’s not a big deal-they have other options. They’ll continue to tell McGloin to keep working and improving while learning from 2013. The way he handles himself moving forward will determine his future pay-day, but Oakland won’t be so quick to let go of a solid backup quarterback. They’ll continue to praise Carr for his passion and playmaking ability but downplay his successes. Carr is obviously the best package as he possesses mobility and a strong arm; but Oakland would rather develop a franchise QB instead of fielding a good rookie.
In all, the Raiders are generating a competitive quarterback room that will pay dividends on the football field this year. Schaub should start against New York as Oakland’s defense matches up well against the Jets offense. I’m sure teams will call about McGloin but don’t anticipate a trade unless it’s for a 3rd rounder or better. Although Schaub is known as Mr. Pick Six, starting Carr’s inexperience could lead to a lopsided turnover margin. Anyone saying were facing the same problem as last year needs to re-evaluate as the depth isn’t even comparable.
This is a crucial decision for the future of the Team of the Decades. I know the Raiders need to win now, but risking their future may not be worth it unless Schaub begins to mirror his 2013 season.
Follow me on Twitter and be courteous in the comment section -Jt