The Oakland Raiders underwent a major roster overhaul this offseason. They likely added at least eight new starters through free agency and had a very highly touted draft class that could easily yield two more starters. Yet despite all of the efforts made by the front office to upgrade the team as a whole, the success of their season will still likely be tied to the success of one man, Matt Schaub (or possibly Derek Carr??).
How the starting quarterback for the Raiders performs, whomever that may be, will be this team’s key to the success or failure. Although I’m sure everyone is tired of hearing this by now … the NFL is a passing league, by and large. Teams can still win with a productive run game and a great defense — as the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers have proven. But without those two things, a solid passing game is a necessity. The Raiders are attempting to build themselves in the mold of the Niners and Seahawks with a strong run game and a dominant defense, but it is hard to build both of those into dominant forces in just one season.
As good as their defense and rushing attacks may become, the Raiders are still going to need very good play from their quarterback if they expect to get out of the 4-12 zone. They traded for Schaub in the offseason because they believed he was capable of doing just that for the Raiders. But now that rookie Derek Carr has impressed in offseason workouts, people are already starting to talk about the possibility of Carr starting at some point this season — maybe even EARLY this season.
Since the Raiders would rather see Schaub start while Carr sits and learns for a year, that’s most likely what we’ll see. But the second that Schaub starts to struggle or if, god forbid, he throws a pick-six, the masses will immediately start calling for Carr to get into the game. After years of losing and two years of terrible football, Raiders fans are (understandably) growing impatient. Many believe the key to the future is Carr and do not want to wait for Schaub to step out of the way. There may not be much of a “competition” in camp since Schaub is slotted to be the starter, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have to watch his back. This is a competition that will last all season long or until Schaub shows he can play at a high level again.
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