The possibility exists.
With rumors about Donovan McNabb and the Raiders circulating for the last week, and to say the least, the very interesting way that Raiders' management goes about it's job, a trade for one of the best quarterbacks in the league is one of the least strange things that Oakland could do that I can think of.
The Raiders are currently the only team in the NFL that would probably pay the price that the Eagles are asking for McNabb (a top-44 pick in the upcoming 2010 draft and possibly some kind of defensive trade).
Right now, no one really knows what is going on except Raiders owner, and self-proclaimed captain of the team (through his own somewhat strange actions) Al Davis.
And I'll tell ya, I bet even he's not sure what he's doing.
But all that aside, I want to look back at this past season and try to figure out how much one of the top quarterbacks in the league would have helped the Raiders' overall record.
Let me just say, I don't hate JaMarcus Russell, but I truly do believe he has a bad work ethic and he needs to start running. (Dude, go get a stepper, flat-screen TV, and work out for a few hours. Trust me, it helps.)
Russell, who is now coming into his fourth season out of LSU, wasn't the most accurate passer last year, and it showed. His 11 interceptions to go with his three touchdowns had the Raiders moving backward.
Imagine if the Raiders had Donovan McNabb. Historically, he's known as a protector of the football. In fact, he rarely throws that many interceptions in a season, much less the six or so games that Russell played.
So let's look through last year's schedule.
Week one, in the first Monday night game of the season, JaMarcus and his Raiders had a great chance to upset the San Diego Chargers. Leading by three points with just a few minutes left on the clock, the Raiders gave up Phillip Rivers' nine play, 89-yard touchdown drive.
So how is that Russell's problem?
He threw two interceptions in that game. One of which was just 20 yards away from the end zone in the first quarter. Had they converted a field goal instead, there's a good chance they would have won.
Had he thrown a touchdown, like six-time Pro-Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb is very good at doing, they probably would have pulled the upset.
"Coulda, shoulda, woulda"—of course, you could argue that the Chargers would have adjusted to win the game, but it's the realization that Oakland lacks a real offensive leader and star quarterback that has been hurting them so many seasons.
Other games where the Raiders could have used Donovan McNabb:
A 23-3 loss to the Denver Broncos in Week Two, where JaMarcus Russell threw for 61 yards, two interceptions and no touchdowns.
A 29-6 loss to the Houston Texans in Week Four, Russell threw no touchdowns and only 128 yards, completing less then 50 percent of his passes.
A 16-24 loss to the San Diego Chargers in Week Eight, where JaMarcus showed a slight improvement—completing more then 50 percent of his passes, but still throwing for only 109 yards and an interception.
A 16-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11, where Russell threw for only 64 yards and his backup Bruce Gradkowski threw for 49 yards and two interceptions.
A 23-9 loss to the Cleveland Browns in Week 16 where Charlie Frye threw for an impressive three interceptions when the Raiders needed them most (two in the red zone).
Ironically, the Raiders beat the Philadelphia Eagles last year, in one of the least impressive outings by the Eagles' offense I've seen in a while.
While I don't believe the Raiders would have won all those games I've named with a quarterback like Donovan McNabb, I am sure they would have picked up some of them, and hence improved their regular season record from 5-11 to somewhere around 8-8.
Not only would bringing in an elite player like Donovan McNabb help the struggling Raiders offense, but it would help the defensive teams who have to trot onto the field after every failed Raiders possession. A little more time off the field could have helped the Oakland defense finish higher then 24th in the league last season.
I am an Eagles fan and fully believe that Donovan McNabb would benefit from the change in scenery, and a change in fan attitude.
I even went as far as to publish an article which stated that the Eagles should try to trade McNabb in order to pick up a first-round pick.
The chances of a first-round pick are virtually impossible now, so I don't feel so strongly about moving McNabb to somewhere else, but I believe I'm starting to side with the man, who's been mistreated by fans since he joined the team over a decade ago.
Going to a place where he would be loved would give him a feeling of freshness.
And a chance to really make some of those fans on the other side of the country ashamed of even doubting the man.
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