Sometimes the success or failure of a season rests on picking the right quarterback. For the Oakland Raiders, they can’t afford to make a rash call. It’s not about experience anymore. It’s about choosing who deserves to play the most.
Dennis Allen cannot tie his boat to Matt Schaub based on the past
There was a reason the Raiders traded for quarterback Matt Schaub. They felt that the former Houston Texans Pro Bowler deserved a fresh start after his ugly 2013 campaign and at age 32 has enough left in the tank to get the Raiders over the playoff hump for the first time in 12 years. It seems like a perfectly sound strategy provided Schaub looks like he deserves that chance. One elemental truth of the NFL is players don’t get recognition for past accomplishments, not until they retire. Yes, Schaub went to two Pro Bowls and got Houston to the playoffs twice but those achievements have no bearing on the present. What matters is whether Schaub looks like the best quarterback on the field. If he doesn’t, he shouldn’t play.
Carr in very similar spot to Russell Wilson
That is why there may be internal belief among the Oakland Raiders that rookie 2nd round pick Derek Carr has a chance to push for the starting job. Carr has the tools to play in the NFL from the cannon arm to good height and command of the huddle. His drawbacks are all nitpicks regarding his thinner frame and inexperience in a pro style offense. In many ways Carr sits in a similar position as Seattle Seahawks starter Russell Wilson. A 3rd round pick in 2012, nobody really expected much from him as a rookie coming out of Wisconsin. Yet by the time the preseason started Wilson had performed so well in training camp and his preseason games that head coach Pete Carroll was forced to consider starting him over high-priced trade acquisition Matt Flynn. The results speak for themselves. So what happens if Derek Carr does the same thing? Say he begins to draw the attention of teammates in training camp and then outperforms Matt Schaub during the preseason. Will Dennis Allen have the guts to do what Carroll did or will he stay the course and go with experience?
One thing about winning in the NFL is the ability to manage fear. Derek Carr is a rookie. There is no disputing that fact. Starting a rookie is as risky as it gets. Still, if the Oakland Raiders want to win they have to play their best players. That should not exclude the quarterback position.