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