It's not a matter of if, but when, Carr will start for the Raiders this season. This will be a big moment; although Schaub was once a good quarterback, he simply doesn't have the physical tools anymore. There's no question that he's lost the arm strength. As long as Schaub is in there, the offense will not thrive.
It's going to be a tale of two seasons for Oakland. The real one will start when Carr steps into the starting lineup.
There were concerns about the fifth overall pick after he was a non-factor in the first two preseason games. That all changed the second half of the preseason, when Mack started to pile up tackles and become more involved in plays. He even added an interception.
The Raiders are going to need him to be a disruptive force. As the season progresses, Mack's case for Rookie of the Year should become stronger and stronger.
Of the three running backs on the roster, McFadden was the only one without a true breakout performance in the preseason. However, the possibility is still there. Jones-Drew and McFadden are going to get the bulk of the carries for Oakland.
If McFadden can take advantage of the touches he gets, this will be one of the better running back groups in the NFL. If he doesn't, he could start to lose carries to Murray.
Justin Tuck/LaMarr Woodley
Tuck and Woodley were brought in for one thing: sacks. How they do in the pass rush will affect the entire defense. The better they do, the better the defense overall will do. The more they struggle, the more the linebackers and the secondary will struggle. Much of the defense's success will depend on them and how often they can get to the quarterback.
For three preseason games, Moore looked like he might get cut. In the final preseason game, he looked like he should be starting. This disparity in his performance hasn't been uncommon over the years, but there was a clear difference this preseason between Moore with Schaub and Moore with Carr. Once Carr takes over the offense, Moore could finally become one of the NFL's most consistently dangerous receivers.
For Janikowski, 2014 will be defined by one thing: accuracy. He still has plenty of leg, but whether or not he can keep it on target will be the issue. This will affect what the offense needs to do to get in range.
Janikowski's range will affect the play-calling. If he's on, it'll be a huge weapon to have. If not, it will make the offense's job that much more difficult.
Ausberry's career has been a case of untapped potential. The "Ausberry will be great once he's healthy" story has become an annual one in Oakland. But this is very likely his last chance to prove the coaches right.
It looks like he'll be back to start the regular season. He needs to make a huge impact. If he does, he'll prove just how dangerous he is. If he doesn't, he'll be out of a job.
D.J. Hayden/Chimdi Chekwa/T.J. Carrie/Neiko Thorpe
Oakland entered training camp with questions at cornerback. After camp and a full preseason, the team has more questions at the position than it started with. Rogers and Brown are the starters, but neither has been convincing.
Carrie and Thorpe have had the opportunities to secure more playing time, but they've both struggled to earn regular roles at the position. As for Chekwa, he was going to be given a shot at a starting spot, but an injury ended that discussion for now.
The biggest question mark is Hayden, who is once again out with an injury. He was penciled in as a starter before the injury, and it's assumed he'll step back into the role once he returns from the PUP list later in the season. But he's yet to prove he's truly a reliable option. At the very least, he'll infuse some talent into the group, but he still has to show that he can provide results.
The cornerbacks were torched all preseason, and that was in only limited duty against starting quarterbacks. If the secondary is going to have any chance in the regular season, one of these players will have to step up.