The Oakland Raiders came into the 2012 season with a clear starter in Carson Palmer. After the Raiders traded Palmer to the Arizona Cardinals, Oakland was set up for a quarterback competition since there did not appear to be a clear starter on the roster. Now, however, some are questioning if there is really a competition for the starting quarterback position in Oakland.
Just before sending Palmer to Arizona, the Raiders acquired Matt Flynn from the Seattle Seahawks. Despite having a salary of a starter, many expected Flynn to be in an open competition for the spot. After all, Reggie McKenzie was not the one who gave Flynn that salary, and with only one more career start than Terrelle Pryor, there isn’t a lot to base a decision on yet.
Then, the Raiders drafted QB Tyler Wilson out of Arkansas in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Most saw Wilson as a nice value pick who could be developed into a starter, but needed some time. Then, during the Raiders rookie mini camp and subsequent OTAs, Wilson began to impress. Some even thought he looked better than Flynn.
Sounds good right? The Raiders do not have a clear starter at quarterback, and when that is true, the next best thing is a healthy competition where the players push each other to get better. Wilson has stepped up as a worthy candidate in a battle where many thought he would just be a spectator. Now, instead of a two-man race between Flynn and Terrelle Pryor, the Raiders have a three-man race. What could be better?
Not so fast. For some odd reason, rather than letting this be a completely open competition, Raiders head coachDennis Allen has repeatedly stated that Flynn is the starter for the Raiders unless the competition dictates otherwise.
In the article linked above, Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk suggests that there is not really a competition since it appears to him that Flynn would likely only lose the job due to in-game performance. I am not sure I would go that far, but he does make a great point; why even name a starter right now?
The only good naming Flynn the starter now does is protect him from potential issues stemming from what happened in Seattle when Flynn lost his starting job to rookie Russell Wilson. But in my book, that is not good at all. A starting quarterback in the NFL needs to be mentally tough. I would much rather see Flynn thrown to the wolves and see how he copes.
Many Raiders fans have a favorite they would like to see win the starting job and now it appears the coaching staff does too. This is something I simply do not understand. Flynn very well could be the best quarterback on the roster and may end up deserving the starting job. But, until he has proven that while wearing Silver and Black, it makes no sense to name him, or anyone the starter.