Updates from Tuesday, Sept. 2
A day after the announcement that Derek Carr will start the season over Matt Schaub, both QB's talked about the move via Scott Bair of CSNCalifornia.com and Vic Tafur of The San Francisco Chronicle:
Matt Schaub: he was surprised by decision to start Carr, said wouldn't have don't anything different knowing it was a true competition.— Scott Bair (@BairCSN) September 2, 2014
Matt Schaub: “Coach Allen told me it wasn’t anything I did or didn’t do … obviously I am disappointed”— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) September 2, 2014
Carr said he was excited about hearing he was starting, not necessarily surprised. “I wasn’t thinking about being starter or the backup …— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) September 2, 2014
Carr: “All I care about is the Raiders winning”— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) September 2, 2014
Following four preseason games that saw veteran quarterback Matt Schaub and rookie gunslinger Derek Carr get virtually the same number of snaps to showcase their ability, head coach Dennis Allen has named Carr as his Week 1 starter, according to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports:
Breaking: Raiders players have been informed that the team is making the switch at QB and starting Derek Carr over Matt Schaub— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) September 1, 2014
Raiders coach Dennis Allen commented on his decision via USA Today's Lindsay Jones:
Allen on Derek Carr: "He’s grown by leaps and bounds, and I think he’s ready to accept the challenge." #Raiders— Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) September 2, 2014
Vic Tafur of the The San Francisco Chronicle confirms Carr is getting the first-team reps in practice:
Carr taking first-team reps. Schaub and McGloin also getting some work after— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) September 1, 2014
There are two huge factors that worked in Carr's favor. First, he was fantastic this preseason, with a completion percentage of 66.7, four touchdowns, one interception, 108.7 quarterback rating and a strong 7.2 yards per attempt.
Second, and more important, Schaub doesn't appear to be fully healthy right now. The veteran quarterback was held out of practice all week prior to the final preseason game against Seattle with elbow soreness, per Jerry McDonald of the Oakland Tribune:
Matt Schaub has elbow soreness, Dennis Allen says. He'll be evaluated daily. Allen says he's not concerned that it's a serious issue.— Jerry McDonald (@Jerrymcd) August 25, 2014
Dennis Allen holding firm with Schaub. Looking for him to start Week 1 vs. NY Jets. Has no concerns about QB position.— Jerry McDonald (@Jerrymcd) August 25, 2014
We can talk all we want about preseason numbers, but usually when a rookie takes over at the start of the season, it's because things have not gone according to plan with the veteran.
However, Carr's performance against the Seattle Seahawks signaled a huge shift in the quarterback dynamic. He had 143 yards and three touchdowns on 11-of-13 passing, prompting Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News to make this statement:
Won't Tweet all night on this game, but I think Derek Carr is your Raiders starting QB. Or should be.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) August 29, 2014
Allen didn't necessarily disagree with any sentiment that Carr should be his starting quarterback in Week 1 after the game, saying in his postgame press conference, via Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com, that he liked all of the quarterbacks on his roster:
"We have three guys that can be starting quarterbacks," Allen said. "We'll have to see where Matt (Schaub) is on Monday."
Entering tonight, just 1 expected opening game starting QB has a lower preseason passer rating than Ryan Fitzpatrick. It's Matt Schaub— AdamWexlerCSN (@awexler) August 23, 2014
The Raiders are in an interesting period of transition right now. Allen is entering his third season as head coach, coming off back-to-back 4-12 seasons, so he has to start showing results soon or else the team will be looking to make a change.
There could be a lot of money for the front office to spend on free agents, as the team currently has about $85 million in salary commitments for 2015 (h/t Spotrac.com) and a potential salary cap of $145 million next year, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.
Being able to groom Carr for the future in a season where the expectations are still relatively low for the Raiders bodes well for the franchise. He can gain valuable experience as a starting quarterback, develop chemistry with the receivers already on the roster and get help for next season.
For the first time in years, it feels like there is a blueprint in Oakland that the front office and coaching staff are following. Carr is the start of the process and will be served well by this opportunity, one he's earned through performance on the field.