ALAMEDA, Calif. -- This is the second consecutive Labor Day that the Oakland Raiders have replaced a starting quarterback with a youngster.
The Raiders hope their decision to make rookie Derek Carr the starter -- the team's first rookie quarterback to start a season and the 18th starter since Rich Gannon left nearly 10 years ago -- ends the quarterback turnstile in Oakland.
While the process hasn't been smooth, I think the decision to go with Carr, a smart, polished second-round pick from Fresno State, is the right one.
The Raiders are a rebuilding team. Matt Schaub, even at his very best, would be a short-term solution. The Raiders are not going to take the next step as an organization until they find stability at quarterback. Nothing builds a winner like a quality young quarterback. The Raiders have to see what they have in Carr, the first quarterback from this NFL draft class to be named the starter.
There are no guarantees it will work, but we won't find out until he plays.
There were glimpses of brilliance from Carr in the preseason finale against Seattle when he completed 11 of 13 passes for three touchdowns, including two one-play touchdown drives. Yes, it was the preseason, but what sticks out was how comfortable Carr was and how energized the entire unit was because of Carr.
“The game is not too big for him,” Oakland right tackle Khalif Barnes said. “He is smart beyond his years. The kid has it.”
Those are tremendous skills a young quarterback can possess. Carr has a chance to be special. Again, nothing is for sure, but the Raiders have to see what he has.
They know what Schaub has --not much. He is just a fringe guy. So like last year when the Raiders replaced Matt Flynn with Terrelle Pryor, the Raiders are giving up on a player whom they invested in. The Raiders gave Houston a sixth-round pick for Schaub and are paying him $8 million. The cost is a bigger deal than the trade compensation.
But no one is going to worry about Schaub's effect on the salary cap if Carr is an instant hit. It will mean the Raiders will finally have their answer at quarterback. That will be all that matters.