Oakland Raiders: Why Matt Schaub vs Derek Carr Will Determine 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.

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Tags: Oakland Raiders

  • Wm Bill L Rhoades

    Well, quite a statement, thinking that the ‘weight of the season’ rides pretty much on the QB situation…I think that in any ‘true team’ situation, each part of the ‘TEAM CONCEPT”…the offense, or the defense, or the special teams, helps to start and maintain the ‘spirit, the adrenalin for the other ‘parts’ of the team, and also helps get the excitement going. Also, if there are ‘winning vets’, implanted in the various three parts, that they can inspire until the whole team gets their head into it, and keep their focus, and even gets that ‘valued killer instinct’. Each responds to the other and all to the whole.
    It is now very evident that the whole team has bought into the coaches, and in turn, the coaches are into the players. The GM pitched honesty to the players, and he also kept his goals and words not only to the owner, but the fans…thusly cementing his relationship with Allen…AND Olsen. I say Olsen, because he’s good, and with Now the TOOLS he has, they can implement all the strategy.
    I think the rebuild of the OL will enable them to mesh, and as they and the backs mesh during training camp, and pre-season, this’ll be a big success factor. Back in the day of Gannon, that was a ‘run by committee and there are backs behind McFadden and Drew that’ll surprise and as they all work as a whole they’ll become really tough to get off the field.
    The draft class, has another plus…the players coming in have attitudes of ‘team players’, but also of wanting to START…as Reggie and Dennis ‘BOTH have indicated’, already none is satisfied with ‘just learning the systems, but actually starting, during the season.
    The ‘VETs’ sense a ‘distinct change’…from Penn, to Wooden, to Woodley, Tyvon senses it, as does Tuck.. SIMMS emphaticaly sensed it, or he said ‘he wouldn’t have come back’…to the working back into the mix of Burris…and he’s really performing and focused and breathing, loving..maturing as a ‘football player’.
    So it ain’t ‘just the QB’s…but it seems as if part…players all over the locker room, sense the intensity of the ‘WORK HABITS’ of the even and especially the ROOKIES… No one is waiting for anyone else, to grow and develop. Watson has an ATTITUDE, Carr ‘JUST COMES TO WORK and LEARN, and ASK QUESTIONS, an immediately APPLYs’, everything, as does MACK…and even CB rookie JT CARRIE…Gabe Jackson wants ‘back on the field, is mature, studies’, and performs.
    There will be intensity from and on the sideline this year, and it will be ‘felt’…like for quite sometime!!!
    We’ll watch and see, but the league will too. Let ‘em all take our RAIDERS for granted, I’d love that. Let everyone all have ‘em buried, I love it, we’ll just quietly wait and see. The fans, the real knowledgeable ones ‘sense the changes too’, and no one seems to be whining about things.
    GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO RAIDERS!!!!!!!!!!!!! JUST WIN BABY!!!! This team certainly is persuing their COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE!!!!!

  • Bob

    We don’t know this. McGloin may end up being number 2. He has more NFL experience. Make for a good article, but who knows?

  • Mark Shafer

    In Houston Schaub was not calling the plays. Interceptions are a direct result in decision making by the quarterback, and predictable play calling. Some time poor play calling will put the quarterback in a situation where he will be trying to force a play. Which will result in bad decisions
    Before he got hurt, Jason Campbell, was playing a smart ball control type of offense. There was nothing spectacular about it. Simple ball control low risk stuff.
    That is what we need to win. A defense that will keep us in the game, and a offense that is not predictable taking what is there. We need to get off the field on third down, then control the time of possession.