Boller, Lechler headline Raiders' QB competition

Boller, Lechler headline Raiders' QB competition
October 17, 2011, 2:39 am
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Credit goes to Oakland punter Shane Lechler for not doing what every kid from time immemorial has done when having a moment of unexpected success -- going to his coach and saying, I can do more, I can I can I can gimmeachance pleasepleasepleaseplease pleeeeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzz.After all, his hand had barely cooled from his 35-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Boss -- the one that essentially won Sundays game for the Raiders, 24-17, over the Cleveland Browns. It was a play for which he had been agitating for, by his estimation, 11 years and six games, and it worked brilliantly.And now with Jason Campbell gone for what looks like the season with a bifurcated collarbone, the result of Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita landing on him at the end of a seven-yard scramble in the second quarter, and the trade deadline 39 hours from games end -- well, this was the best time ever for Lechler to make his case.He didnt. Hes a veteran. He knows what hes good at, even if it took him 182 weeks of active duty to convince anyone else that he was good to go this first time.

So basically, the Raiders will carry on with the uberveteran Kyle Boller, and the undertested Terrelle Pryor as his backup, and if youre getting your hopes up about a third party, youre probably barking up the wrong eternal flame.Oh, there may be a rogue journeyman out there -- yes, David Garrard comes to mind -- but one wonders if the Raiders had any love for him, wouldnt it have manifested it before now? And no, dont get your goolies in a knot for Carson Palmer, or even less likely, Kyle Orton.No, due to circumstances beyond anyones control, this is the worst possible time for the Raiders to be (a) on the cusp of playoff contention and (b) without a football man in charge.There have been rumors that Ron Wolf will come in on an interim basis just to make sure nobody trades Darren McFadden for a soda dispenser, but so far, they have been only that.But a trade of that breadth takes a lot more time than head coach Hue Jackson has. It requires the work of a number of people, none of whom are really in charge. And it has to happen in a day and a half, with owners who have no reason to wish well for the Raiders.And while anything is possible when there is no apparent structure, it would seem far more likely to assume that the Raiders havent the people or the time to make a high-profile change to their quarterback situation. Seem, that is. If Wolf, just to pick the best and most seasoned candidate, is going to be the guiding hand in the short term, theres no time like the real short term to make the one move that could make what seems like the teams greatest vulnerability into a potential strength.Boller, one must assume, will be on a crash course and a short leash at the same time. With Kansas City here Sunday and then a fortuitously timed bye the following week, the former Cal Bear, Baltimore Raven and St. Louis Ram will have 18 days between now and the real postseason run to find the timing he clearly lacked Sunday. He was 8 of 14 for 100 yards Sunday, and missed some receivers by remarkable lengths.And Pryor needs even more work than that. Having just served his five-week suspension for running afoul of Ohio State, the NFLs de facto 33rd franchise, he said Sunday he was confident -- Ive never been not confident in my life -- but would need to start with a shrunken play list and build his comfort level with the playbook from there.I mean, Lechler cant throw touchdown passes to wide open targets like Kevin Boss every week, and Sebastian Janikowskis expertise with the offense has been merely with running the football. There is no indication that he has either Lechlers arm or the desire to show it.Thus, on a day that the Raiders should otherwise have enjoyed, they confront the worst fear of any team, at a time when they are the least-run franchise in the NFL. The magic of making new quarterbacks appear out of nowhere takes more wherewithal than the Raiders seem to have on the surface (although they did trade for Seattle discard Aaron Curry, whose price tag of less than 400K was right up Oaklands street).In short, these next two days are going to test the New Raiders mettle for crisis management far more than PG&Es ability to keep the Al Davis flame lit in right field, or the City of Oaklands ability keep their payments to PG&E up to date. It may be too much for even a fully manned staff to handle, so if the Raiders cant get something done, it isnt necessarily an act of shame or sloth.In the meantime, Shane Lechler sits back with his perfect quarterback rating in the NFL stats, and almost certainly with ESPNs hilariously more complicated one, ready and waiting to see if Hue Jackson, in a quarterback bind, will call on him again, and a lot sooner than 2023.