Matt Schaub, Derek Carr, Matt McGloin: Who should start for Raiders?

Jeff Spiegel

With a strong showing on Thursday night, has Derek Carr earned himself the starting job? Or is Matt Schaub still safely atop the depth chart?

Had this piece been written Thursday morning, it's safe to say it would have had a notably different feel. But alas, with one more game between him and the regular season, Raiders preseason backup Derek Carr made Dennis Allen's decision just a tad bit harder.

So with nine days between us and the Raiders' first game of the season, is the quarterback position as predictable as many assumed it would be a month ago? With that question in mind, lets take a look at each of the contenders and break down their case for the starting job.

Matt Schaub

While Matt Flynn entered Oakland in a quarterback competition 12 months ago, head coach Dennis Allen made it clear from Day 1 that Schaub was coming to Oakland as nothing short of the starter. Coming off a dreadful 2013 campaign in which he threw 14 interceptions in 10 games (including an NFL record four-straight games with an interception returned for a touchdown), some wondered whether Schaub was really worthy of a starting job any more.

Of course, the supporters would point to six straight seasons of a QB rating over 87 from 2007-2012 in which he threw for 114 touchdowns and 74 interceptions to go along with three seasons of over 4,000 passing yards.

Unfortunately for Schaub, the preseason seems to confirm what many had feared: those seasons may be deep in the rear view mirror.

As a side note, I think a new quarterback in a new system with new receivers is a touch situation to judge someone in (not to mention the debate about whether the preseason really matters to begin with). That said, what has stood out most about Schaub isn't his lack of cohesion with receivers, but it's his noticeably weakened arm.

I think Schaub has gotten a raw deal behind a struggling offensive line and with drop-happy receivers and tight ends, but at the end of the day, Schaub looked a lot like the 2013 version of himself in week 3 of the preseason.

Derek Carr

As people get to this point of the article, I think most people are expecting a gushing report about his performance against the Seahawks last night — and we'll get there — but first I need to put out a couple disclaimers.

First, I think Carr had a bit of luck on his side last night. There were two red zone passes he made that he's lucky fell as incompletions — including his second touchdown pass to Mychal Rivera. Secondly, I think Carr had the benefit of Oakland pass catchers playing the best they've played all preseason — with almost no noticeable drops during Carr's time under center. Finally, we must say it: it was just a preseason game — and one against a lot of backups in every series but the first.

With that said, holy smokes was that fun to watch.

As a lifelong Raiders fan, I can't remember the last time I saw a quarterback throw with that much power and confidence and accuracy consistently. Yeah, he made a couple rookie mistakes (that thankfully weren't capitalized on by Seattle), but he bounced back from each of them beautifully.

I think the clinching moment for me was Carr's final touchdown to Denarius Moore — a back-shoulder throw fit into a tight spot right on Moore's hands. In listening to the Seattle broadcast, analyst and former quarterback Brock Huard summed it up perfectly when he said something along the lines of, "that's just not a pass that Matt Schaub is making right now."

Yep, I think that about sums it up.

Matt McGloin

Finally, that brings us to McGloin, the presumed third-stringer who entered Thursday's game as the No. 1 rated preseason quarterback in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus.

While some would like to think that McGloin was making Allen's life complicated, the reality is that McGloin was never really in the conversation. Sure, he looked good against a bunch of third-stringers early in the preseason, but he simply isn't a guy that Oakland sees as a quarterback of the future — or even the present.


So what do you think? Had Carr earned the job? Should the preseason be ignored, leaving the job comfortably in Schaub's hands? Are you a part of the cult that is the Matt McGloin fan club? Let us know in the poll and comments below.

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