Oakland Raiders offseason position review: Quarterbacks

Coming off 1.5 seasons of Carson Palmer, the Oakland Raiders knew their quarterbacking wasn’t going to be a pretty sight in 2013. Terrelle Pryor finally got his shot and showed promise early in the season before being benched for undrafted free agent, Matt McGloin. As a result the entire passing game suffered.

Pryor, who was deceased former owner Al Davis’ last ever draft pick, progressed well enough to earn the starting job to open the season. Pryor played lights out for the first few weeks. His speed and athleticism opened up a new style of offense for the team to run, often showing Johnny Manziel-like skills to move around in the pocket. His passing skills were refined enough to not cripple the team, and despite his known speed, he kept his eyes downfield even when scrambling in the backfield.

While he still was working on becoming more consistent, he did bring a splash play element to a team that had been lacking it. His deep touchdown pass on the first offensive play against San Diego and the 93-yard touchdown run on the first play against Pittsburgh brought a spark under center that brought a glimmer of hope to the franchise.

Oakland Raiders

Pryor outran the entire Pittsburgh defense to open the game

Oakland Raiders

Pryor showed great arm strength and placement on the opening touchdown vs the Chargers

However, the glimmer soon faded as Pryor regressed badly in midseason. A sprained MCL hindered his mobility and seemed to lack any pocket awareness. He showed poor decision making and was permanently benched for Matt McGloin, an undrafted rookie who struggled mightily himself.

Reggie McKenzie has already said Pryor will likely not be on the team next year, and Pryor has requested to be traded.

McGloin on the other hand was more of a pocket passer. Similar to Pryor, the Raiders put him in a lot of pistol sets to make it easier for him to run the offense. Also similar to Pryor, he started out well, showing easy chemistry with his receivers and good mechanics from in the pocket. Then he came crashing back to earth, struggling to move the offense and not reading defenders, including a four pick performance against Kansas City in week 15.

McGloin forces the pass, even though Eric Berry was waiting right on top, and promptly picked him off

McGloin forces the pass, even though Eric Berry was waiting right on top, and promptly picked him off

However, the team does see him as a long term backup and good player to develop. By continuing to commit to McGloin late in the season, the organization showed that they had no more interest in Pryor, either his development or his abilities.

McGloin’s most impressive feat of the season was before he even took a snap. At final roster cut down before week 1, it was announced that he would come into the season as the primary backup over Tyler Wilson, the team’s 4th round pick. Wilson flopped so hard that the team cut him, put him on the practice squad, promoted him for two weeks, and then cut him again before the Titans signed him.

In addition, the team traded for Matt Flynn the previous offseason. Flynn fell behind Pryor early on, and only needed one awful spot start against the Redskins for the Raiders to finally give up on him. Between the $6.5 million guaranteed he got from the Raiders, and the fourth round pick spent on Wilson, Reggie McKenzie’s evaluating of QBs in 2013 was dreadful.

It did not get any better this offseason when the Raiders traded for former Houston Texans signal caller, Matt Schaub. Schaub is coming off one of his worst seasons ever, where he regressed horribly within the team and even had a streak of four straight games with a pick-six. The good news about Schaub is that he is extremely experienced and can at least manage the offense, or one would hope he can.

The franchise still lacks a foundational signal caller, but the Raiders honestly view Schaub as more than a stopgap. Hopefully, it does not preclude them from drafting someone high in this year’s draft. Even if Oakland bypasses Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, or Teddy Bridgewater, there are some intriguing second-day passers such as Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Zach Mettenberger.

With some better talent at the position, quarterback should not hold back the team in 2014. As of now, the Raiders don’t need an All-Pro quarterback on the Aaron Rodgers scale, they just need someone to manage the offense adequately and not turn the ball over. And even if the team sours on any of their options this season, another losing season could mean a reasonable shot at drafting Jameis Winston in 2015.

Could we see Jameis Winston in the Silver in Black in 2015?

Could we see Jameis Winston in the Silver in Black in 2015?

 

That finishes our positional breakdown of the Oakland Raiders. Up Next: projected starting lineups.

  • Brutus

    No doubt RM made mistakes with Flynn and Wilson. With Flynn, I think RM hoped he could at least be a stopgap to bridge to a QB of the future. Palmer didn’t want to be here anymore and there weren’t many options who could fit in our budget. I don’t think he ever viewed Pryor as our QB of the future, although he did let Pryor’s preseason dictate that he should be the starter over Flynn. I think RM knew he should take a QB in the draft last year and reached for Wilson since he was surprised he was still on the board. I doubt he was the best player available on their board, so he violated that principle.

    Two things I gather from the RM’s pick of Flynn and Wilson. I think he went against his principles on both picks, essentially making panic moves thinking he needed to get QBs when he would have done better to stick with his principles – get proven vets and don’t reach for need in the draft. The second thing is more important. RM quickly admits mistakes and cuts his losses. Many GMs and owners will hold on to their bad picks, hoping they will prove them right at some point. He cut Wilson in camp and he cut Flynn in midseason.

    I have to disagree with you on Schaub. I think he has several more good years in him. He only cost us a sixth round pick (that I expect RM to get back via moving back a time or two in this draft) and he restructured his contract. Schaub won’t be the reason we fall short if we aren’t still in the playoff hunt in December and pushing for our first winning season. We still have other holes and depth issues, most of which can hopefully be addressed in the draft.

    As far as picking a QB in this draft, the guy we pick has to be someone that we feel will be our franchise QB or why pick anyone? We don’t need to waste another draft pick – even a mid or late rounder – on a QB if we don’t feel he has that potential. McGloin did enough last year to prove he can step up in a back up role and keep us on track for a few games. He will also only get better learning from Schaub. I don’t feel that any of the QBs are worth the fifth pick, but if we believe in Manziel and he is still there at 5, maybe we trade back a few spaces, get a pick or two and still select him in the first. Maybe he is gone, but Carr is still there at the end of the first and we move up to get him if we think he is the guy. Whomever we pick will be expected to sit behind Schaub this year and probably next – similar to Rodgers in GB – unless Schaub flops and they have to step up sooner. Regardless, I don’t want us to draft a QB anywhere in this draft unless we feel they have the legitimate potential to be our QB of the future. We’ve wasted enough draft picks on QBs recently.

  • http://www.cummingchiropracticmedspa.com/ Michael Klein

    the mistake that was made, is that they don’t have the coaching staff in place to develop a QB. They also have done a poor job at bringing in any consistency in the “style” of QB at the position.
    Meaning you could not develop a true system with different styles of QB’s.

    Wilson was a top 5 pick if he came out the year before so their was a lot of potential their as well with no development.

    They are making the same mistake this year as well Mcgloin, Pryor & schaub and trent edwards??? (are you serious) are not “like” QB’s the one that does not fit is TP which is a shame because he is the best athlete with good coaching could be an excellent QB.

    This is why TP will be released Dennis Allen & probably RM will get let go at the end of the season and the glass half full is hopefully that leads to Jon Gruden part 2 “The return of CHUCKY! you heard it here first from NOSTRAMIKUS!

    The bad part is if we let TP go then he is not there for Gruden to make a All Star out of like he did Journeyman Gannon & btw dismantled in the Superbowl!

    • Brutus

      Olsen made Freeman look good. Don’t forget that Gruden dismantled the Raiders’ Superbowl team that he built. Maybe RM and DA won’t be the answer, but I don’t understand the call to pull the plug on them after two season when the plan was always to spend the first two seasons tearing it down to get rid of overpaid players and get a healthy cap situation. This is the season they start getting judged on their ability to build a contender. Lets give them at least one season with cap space and all of their draft picks.

      • http://www.cummingchiropracticmedspa.com/ Michael Klein

        Yeah I actually hope I am wrong and they win the Superbowl this year. However, I don’t think DA has it in him to be a head coach, RM has done better at GM.
        However if Matt Schuab turns out to be Matt Flynn and his head coach turns out to be a bust, then maybe he is not the right GM either.
        He has not filled in the other offensive holes we need as well, did we improve at TE?, WR? RB? not really.
        We will have to draft Watkins if he is still available, if not then we will have to take Evans at 5 which is too early but trading down past 7 won’t work either cause we will lose them both.
        Schaub had a lot better offense in Houston last year and could not get it done. We should have spent the money on skills position players not Schaub.
        If we added Chris Johnson or even Knoshown Moreno, Desean Jackson, upgraded at TE, then drafted Watkins any QB on the roster would have been a better QB with the better skilled position players around him.
        We have missed the boat on upgrading the offense- we will have to get lucky that we get a camp casualty of someone else to pick up just before the season.