Looking for two of the newest Oakland Raiders who are primed to make the biggest impact for their new team in 2014?
Then look no further than the Raiders’ offensive backfield.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, quarterback Matt Schaub, who spent the previous seven seasons with the Houston Texans, and running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who was with the Jacksonville Jaguars since 2006, are the top such candidates.
Schaub, you could say, has nowhere to go but up after a nightmarish 2013 in which he went 2-6 as the Texans’ starter, though he has never had back-to-back losing seasons since taking over for David Carr in Houston in 2007.
Also, Schaub threw more interceptions (14) than touchdown passes (10) last season for the first time since he was with the Atlanta Falcons in 2006. His total quarterback rating of 23.4 in the fourth quarter in 2013 ranked 33rd out of 38 qualifying QBs.
As far as Jones-Drew is concerned, sure, he still has to win the job from Darren McFadden, but his bowling ball build and running style -- his 2.05 yards-after-contact per rush since 2011 is sixth in the NFL -- fits what the Raiders are trying to accomplish.
In fact, Rashad Jennings, who had a 2.20 YAC per rush average last season, was the only Oakland running back to average at least 2.0 YAC since 2010.
What does Jones-Drew have to prove and, thus, improve upon?
His 3.4 yards-per-carry average last season was a career low, almost a yard less than his previous nadir of 4.2 yards, in 2008.
He has also missed 11 games over the past two seasons due to injury, this after missing just three games total in his first six NFL seasons.
Still, Jones-Drew’s 68 rushing touchdowns and 8,071 rushing yards rank third and fourth, respectively, in the NFL since 2006, when he came into the league as a second-round draft pick out of UCLA.