As most of fans know, the final preseason game of the season is usually where the back-ups play the majority of the game to ensure the starters are healthy going into Week 1. This causes most fans to discredit the outcomes of the final preseason game even more for the lack of starting players on the field. I can completely understand that in most cases, however the Oakland Raiders are an exception. The Raiders were still trying to prove they are a completely upgraded team from last season but wasn’t doing the best job of it with a preseason record of 1-2 going into their final preseason game. What better way to quiet the hating, the questioning, and the speculation but to come out and stomp the defending Super Bowl XLVIII Champions no matter who was on the field.
Derek Carr had a phenomenal first half against Seattle leading Oakland to four touchdown drives after Seattle came out of the gate with a 7-0 lead. Carr lead the Raiders down the field with a couple of key 3rd down conversions before Letavius Murray punched in a 5-yard run. The drive after that Carr caught fire with a 36-yard TD pass to Denarius Moore to put Oakland in the lead. He didn’t stop there when a Seattle linebacker got his hand on a rocket out of Carr’s hand but it managed to still find tight end Mychal Rivera in the end zone for another TD. And when you thought Carr couldn’t look any better he marched the Raiders down the field again, this time 61-yards before hooking up with D-Moore (Carr’s new favorite wide-out) for an 11-yard TD pass, which put Oakland up 28-7.
Carr looked unbelievably comfortable stepping up in the pocket and slinging the ball all over the field against Seattle. It seemed like with each preseason game he played in he improved dramatically. From preseason week 1 to now he has became completely acclimated and comfortable with the Raiders offense and I have to agree with the San Francisco Chronicle’s Vic Tafur when he reported that Carr should 100% be starting Week 1 against the Jets. I really think Coach Dennis Allen and the Raiders would be making a big mistake by starting Matt Schaub just based on his prior experience.
As a big Matt Schaub supporter, it might not be easy to say but the man’s arm looks completely shot out there. His throws are late and weak giving the defense so much time to make a play. That doesn’t mean Schaub is worthless; his experience can still be valuable to Oakland just not in the starting QB position. Schaub could serve as a mentor to Carr making sure he is ready physically and mentally before each start in order to put Oakland in the best position to win football games this season.
If you just look at numbers alone, there is just no chance Schaub should be playing over Carr during the regular season (Schaub’s preseason: 24-47 completions, 218 passing yards, 1 int, and 0 TD passes/Carr’s preseason: 30-45 completions, 326 passing yards, 1 int, 4 TD passes). If Coach Allen decides to start Schaub against the Jets week 1 he will only be holding the Raiders success back for a week before it is even more obvious that Carr is the starter (based on preseason performance alone) that will bring Oakland wins.