Dec 22, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (8) runs with the ball during the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Reliant Stadium. The Broncos defeated the Texans 37-13. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders: Matt Schaub vs. Derek Carr Key to Season

Few teams had a more productive NFL draft than the Oakland Raiders.  However, their true success in 2014 won’t come through their new-look defense.  It won’t come through the running game either.  As so often happens it rest at the quarterback position and the result of the pending battle between veteran Matt Schaub and rookie Derek Carr.

Khalil Mack and defense will only keep games close

Of the eight draft picks the Oakland Raiders made in 2014, six of them were on the defensive side of the ball.  That shouldn’t be a big surprise since the team is run by head coach Dennis Allen.  There is excitement surrounding rookie linebacker Khalil Mack, tabbed by several draft experts as the best player in the class, even more so than Jadeveon Clowney.  The reason being that Mack, aside from his pass rush skills is also an able tackler in space and very good in coverage.  Together with a strong influx of veteran talents like Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley the Raiders have a chance to field a strong defense in 2014.  If that trend holds up it will certainly make them more relevant in the AFC West chase, but it won’t win them many games.

James Jones and Gabe Jackson additions should keep QB battle clean

That division is predicated on scoring points what with Peyton Manning and the Broncos, Philip Rivers and the Chargers and Andy Reid’s Chiefs.  Beating such teams will require good defense, sure, but also productive offense.  The Raiders went into the off-season knowing they can’t field an effective quarterback until the talent around them was upgraded.  Additions like free agent receiver James Jones and rookie guard Gabe Jackson have a chance to open things up on the ground and through the air.  If anything else, they should help make the quarterback battle as clean as possible.

Schaub must limit mistakes while Carr must learn to handle pressure

Most Oakland Raiders fans expect Matt Schaub to get first crack at the starting job.  It’s reasonable thinking.  He’s a two-time Pro Bowler with playoff experience.  Perhaps last season was more of an anomaly than a trend. Still, it’s hard to forget a quarterback throwing 14 interceptions to just 10 touchdowns and four of those interceptions being a pick six.  His number one job, aside from meshing with the talent around him is finding a way to limit his mistakes and thereby keeping his confidence up.  At the same time he should know the team invested a second round pick in Derek Carr for a reason.  The Fresno State star was arguably the most talent quarterback in the draft and he is most definitely the future of the team.  How soon he sees the field depends on Schaub but also on his development.  Carr can throw the football anywhere on the field.  His issues lay in learning a pro style attack but more importantly learning how to handle pressure.  During his time with the Bulldogs he rarely experienced defenders in his face, so when he did like in the USC game it really affected his play.  If he can show the coaches improvement in that area, he has the skill set and the leadership to supplant Schaub.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Derek Carr Gabe Jackson James Jones Khalil Mack Matt Schaub Oakland Raiders

  • J K

    It true, you have to score to win . But a good Defense will make our Offense legitimate .
    The thing we don’t want is to allow any team to walk all over us.
    It’s time to see what DA can do with a sharp Defensive scheme full of skilled players!
    Go Raiders!

    • KloverJane

      And we need some creative offensive schemes. Trickery and aggressive action. I want some excitement again! No excuses now. The Autumn wind cometh!

      • Mark Shafer

        I am hoping that having a veteran QB is going to open up the play calling this year. Of course having a O line that can run block ( not to mention pass block ) will help

        I personally don’t think to beat our AFC WEST opponents is dependent on our quarterback out scoring them. To beat the Chargers we have to hit Rivers, and throw him off his game. The Chargers beat the Donks by running the ball and keeping the ball out of Mannings hands.

        • KloverJane

          Agreed. We need to sack attack.

  • Ricky Bobby

    WTF R U TALKING ABOUT? Carr is NOT PLAYING THIS YR. MM IS THE BACKUP & unless MD STEPS IN, it will remain that way

    • Kenny Oliver

      McGloin lost his backup spot the minute Carr was drafted and that is a good thin because McGloin sucks.

  • netraider

    Don’t agree.

    The Raiders priority was and is defense. They averaged 20 ppg while giving up 28 ppg (29th in the NFL). This differential was also 29th in the league. The Raiders lost several games with a lead in the 4th Q because they could not make a stop. Concentrating in the off-season and the draft on the offense might yield a few more ppg would would not significantly improve the record or bring a post season run. To be competitive in the AFC West which has some of the highest ppg teams the Raiders need to be able to slow down Manning, Rivers and Smith. With the AFC West matchup with the NFC West in 2014 this is even more important. We have no hope of improving the offense to outscore these teams. We must be able to limit their scoring to have a chance. With a better D we probably would have had a real shot at the playoffs in 2013. Without a better D 2014 will be a bust.

    Off course we need to score and score more ppg than 2104. The improvements to the O line will make a huge difference. I do not see a miraculous turn around for Schaub and Carr will not be a consistent winner if put into service in 2014. You are making a huge mistake overlooking our QB who has the best chance of winning in 2014. McGloin showed great potential in 2013 as a UDFA 4th string walk-on camp arm. He probably meet with trainers more than coaches during camp last year. With an actual camp and preseason he will be even better. (His year 1 stats were better than Peyton’s who was groomed for the job from the minute he was drafted.) The Raiders scored more ppg with McGloin under center. Too bad the D collapsed when he was starting toward the end of the season. If Schaub falters and DA isn’t stubborn about benching him (A DA trait for sure and a big risk for the season, ZBS anyone?), we can score points.

    Assuming adequate QB play the biggest hole in the Raiders in 2014 will be the CBs. This is where the season will be won or lost.

    2015 priorities are looking to be CB/Safety and offensive weapons, i.e. WR and TE.

  • K Hendricks

    Run the ball effectively, stop the run effectively, and punish the opposing QB at every chance.and our Raiders have a good chance against whoever they play.Let the off season play out ,and don’t be surprised if Derek Carr makes Allen and Reggie’s decision very tough.Go RAIDERS!!!!!!!!!!.

  • Raider Grant

    The Raiders have a great chance to put up W’s against ANY of our division rivals! Defense wins championships & The Raiders Offense will be better then the media & haters believe they will be. Unless something drastic happens its Schaub, McGloin(for now), Carr on the depth chart. Go Raiders

  • Jaime Olguin

    I’m just going to say this, we will make believere out of the nonbelievers. I have nothing but faith
    in this coaching staff and our 2014 Raiders.
    Go Raiders!!!!!