TERRELLE PRYOR, MATT MCGLOIN OUT – MATT SCHAUB IN AT STARTING QUARTERBACK
Going into the off-season it was quite apparent the Oakland Raiders were missing quite a few pieces to the winning puzzle and one of those pieces was at the quarterback position. Three different quarterbacks started for the Raiders in 2013 – Terrelle Pryor (nine starts, three wins), Matt McGloin (six starts, one win), and Matt Flynn (one start). At times Pryor showed flashes of brilliance and made the games interesting to watch. One such time was on October 27 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. On first and 10 from the Oakland seven yard line, Pryor kept the football on a read option and burned the Steelers defense for a 93 yard touchdown run. The 93 yard run broke the previous Raiders record of 92 yards set by runningback Bo Jackson in 1989. McGloin came in during the fourth quarter of the week nine game against the Philadelphia Eagles and kept the starting job until week 16. At other times he looked, not so brilliant. Specifically in a week eight loss to the New York Giants, when he completed only 11 passes (42.3%) and threw an interception. McGloin also impressed at times. In his first start against the Houston Texans, he completed 18 of his 32 pass attempts for 197 yards and three touchdowns.
“At the end of the 2013 season, we made a number one priority as an organization to identify and acquire a proven, winning starting quarterback in the National Football League, ” said Raiders Offensive Coordinator Greg Olsen.
The list of veteran quarterbacks in free agency included Mike Vick (signed with the New York Jets on March 21), Mark Sanchez (released by New York Jets and signed by Philadelphia Eagles on March 27), Josh Freeman (Minnesota Vikings Unrestricted Free Agent), former Oakland Raider Josh McCown (signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on March 12), Ryan Fitzpatrick (released by the Tennessee Titans and signed with the Houston Texans on March 20), former Oakland Raider Jason Campbell (released by the Cleveland Browns and signed by the Cincinnati Bengals on March 20), Brandon Weeden (released by the Cleveland Browns and signed by the Dallas Cowboys on March 17), and Kevin Kolb (released by the Buffalo Bills on March 11).
Rumors floated around for a couple of weeks that the Raiders were going to take a look at Michael Vick, Mark Sanchez, and Josh Freeman as possible players to target. But on March 21 the Raiders and Houston Texans agreed on a trade that brought the 33 year-old veteran quarterback Matt Schaub to Oakland in exchange for a sixth round pick in the upcoming draft. Matt Schaub immediately jumped to the top of the 2014 depth chart ahead of McGloin, Pryor and Trent Edwards who was signed on January 2.
“We brought Matt Schaub in to be our starting quarterback and we feel very confident that he is going to be outstanding for us,” coach Dennis Allen said Friday. “He is a two-time Pro Bowl player and when you have the chance to add those kinds of players, that’s what you do.”
This is not the first time the Raiders have brought in a veteran quarterback to right the ship. In 1999, a 34 year-old Rich Gannon was signed as a free agent after spending his first 10 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins, and Kansas City Chiefs. During his six year Raider career, Gannon finished with a 45-29 won-loss record and threw for 17,585 yards with 114 passing touchdowns. He was also voted to the Pro Bowl team four straight seasons (1999-’02) and won the 2002 National Football League Most Valuable Player award. The Raiders also brought in a 32 year-old Jim Plunkett in 1978. He didn’t start right away like Gannon did but when his opportunity presented itself he made it count, leading the 1980 Raiders to a wild card berth and an eventual win in Super Bowl XV over the Philadelphia Eagles. He also led the Raiders to a victory in Super Bowl XVIII over the Washington Redskins. Plunkett finished his Raider career with a 38-19 won-loss record and threw for 12,665 yards with 80 passing touchdowns.
Of the four quarterbacks currently on the Raiders roster, I doubt all of them will be there when the season starts. It has been reported that in January, Pryor requested a trade with speculation the team was looking at drafting one of the top quarterback prospects in the National Football League draft. Now with Schaub on the team the quarterback position does not need to be immediately addressed in the draft. Schaub and McGloin should definately be there, and look for the Raiders to draft a quarterback in the mid to late rounds of the upcoming draft to come in to compete for the backup job.
(Stats courtesy of www.pro-football-reference.com)