The Oakland Raiders have not even begun training camp yet and there is already talk about a quarterback competition in Oakland. The Raiders knew one of the top priorities of the offseason would be to address the quarterback position. They addressed the now by trading for Matt Schaub and the future by drafting Derek Carr.
Based on comments from general manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen, as well as reviews of Carr’s potential from outsiders, it has been nearly unanimously believed that Carr would be sitting throughout his rookie season without much chance to see the field. The Raiders wanted to let him learn before putting him in the limelight.
However, the Raiders may be ready to abandon that idea already, according to NFL.com’s Chris Wesserling.
Although Schaub continues to take the bulk of the first-team practice reps, NFL Media’s Albert Breer reports there is now internal belief that the veteran will be pushed by Carr.
Carr already has convinced the Raiders’ brass that he won’t need a redshirt season, per Breer.
If Schaub doesn’t perform at a much higher level in training camp and preseason action than he has in his past 20 games, don’t be surprised if coach Dennis Allen gives Carr the shoulder tap as early as September or October.
Carr has looked very good in OTAs, displaying what the Raiders hoped they would get both physically as well as mentally. Meanwhile, there are still concerns about whether or not Schaub can return to the form he showed earlier in his career.
Anyone who follows the NFL and the Raiders in particular knew this talk was coming. The Raiders have been looking for a franchise quarterback ever since Rich Gannon retired. Whether it’s getting linked to a trade rumor or fostering competition within their own ranks, the Raiders always seem to be unsettled at the game’s most important position.
Sometimes that talk is motivated more by the fact that QB controversy story lines sell. Last year, the talk was about Tyler Wilson pushing for a starting or backup position. Yet by the time the season rolled around, the fourth round draft pick didn’t even make the roster. Clearly Carr is a much better prospect than Wilson, but the cautionary tale remains the same — OTAs are scheduled far too early to start seriously talking about a quarterback competition. Not until the team starts to get down and dirty with training camp can anyone truly tell if Carr will push Schaub for a starting role.
Could Carr be the starter in 2014? Sure. But quarterbacks always look better in shorts and a t-shirt, so it is easy for Carr to excel right now. Come training camp, Carr could be even better and win the starting job. Yet, he could also look shaky enough during the preseason to convince the Raiders to stick with their original plan, which was to redshirt him in his rookie season. The play of Schaub is also an unknown — his level of play dropped dramatically last season, but everything seemed to go wrong for Houston in 2013.
Too little is known about both Carr and Schaub at this point for any such talk to be anything more than broad speculation. Then again, that hasn’t stopped people from stirring up quarterback controversies in the past.