Derek Carr Starting Will Be Good for the Oakland Raiders Long Term

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Derek Carr Starting Will Be Good for the Oakland Raiders Long Term
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

The Oakland Raiders could have made a safe, low-impact play by starting Matt Schaub. But give them credit for instead going out on a limb and naming rookie Derek Carr their starting quarterback.

Carr, a second-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft, has been the only rookie QB outside of perhaps Blake Bortles to turn heads and make a case for being on the field when the games matter. In the preseason, Carr completed 67 percent of his passes and added four touchdowns, compared to 51 percent completion and zero touchdowns for Schaub.

Carr vs. Schaub: Preseason Numbers
Carr Schaub
Pct. Yards TD QBR
66.7 326 4 108.2
51.1 218 0 55.1

NFL.com

That was enough to make him the only rookie QB to be named his team's starter for Week 1 and the third second-round pick to be named a starting QB in the last five seasons.

And despite the fact that Carr isn't the only fix needed in Oakland, he's a step in the right direction, both for the short and the long term.

 

Carr gives the fans something to look forward to.

Even if the Raiders aren't contending this year, Carr is an exciting player to watch, giving the Oakland fanbase something to cheer for and something to look forward to in the future. That doesn't happen with Schaub under center, because we already know that he's hit his ceiling and is in the twilight of his career.

So fans know their team has no future with Schaub.

On the other hand, Carr's potential looks strong. What's more, he hasn't done anything to make us assume that he isn't at least capable of being great.

That gives Raiders fans hope, which is something the organization desperately needs, even if the team isn't going to win this year.

 

At this point, Carr appears to be the more capable QB.

Despite the fact that Schaub makes $8 million in 2014 and Carr will only make $5 million over the next four seasons, the preseason has shown us that Carr looks like the more skilled player in both the short and the long term.

We've already mentioned the discrepancy in completion percentage and touchdowns between the two QBs, but another factor could be the health of Schaub, who has been nursing a sore elbow and has subsequently been held out of practice on occasion.

Yet Carr's performance is still the driving force behind head coach Dennis Allen's decision, as opposed to Schaub's issues. So we shouldn't assume that Carr is getting the start just because Schaub is hurt.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Carr turned out 7.2 yards per attempt, a 108.7 QB rating and seemed to be solidly outplaying Schaub during a preseason in which the two players shared nearly half of the snaps taken.

So without jumping to conclusions, starting a player that's already outperforming Schaub with his entire career still in front of him is a significantly preferable situation for the Raiders to be in. It allows them to look forward and move past having a QB in Schaub who was never going to be any more than a Band-Aid trying to stop the bleeding from a severed carotid artery.

They needed something more, and they may have gotten it in Carr.

 

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Carr gives them something to build around.

If Carr's play continues to be good and he begins to improve, Oakland can bring players in to help him succeed, which will free management from constantly worrying about QBs and making changes at that position. That's good news for a team that has had 18 starting QB changes since 2007.

Carr gives the Raiders a chance to reverse that trend and move forward with a player they know is going to be around for a long time.

Allen made the right decision here.

Bobby Kittleberger writes about fantasy football for The FF White Papers. You can get in touch with him via Twitter.

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