The Oakland Raiders cannot really be thinking of doing this again, can they?
Of course they are. Why would you ever think otherwise?
The Raiders are sitting on yet another fabulous quarterback controversy, where their eyes and ears tell them that Derek Carr is the latest Quarterback Of The Future, and their wallets and need for centralized planning tell them that Matt Schaub is The Quarterback Of The Immediate Future.
And what tells them this? Schaub’s balky elbow and Carr’s performance IN THE FOURTH PRACTICE GAME.
We capitalized that so you would understand just how insane this is. The fourth practice game is the least necessary and most outrageously stupid of all the practice games. But Carr looked good against what passes for the Seattle Seahawks, Schaub is injured, and the fans think general manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen should both be dropped from a plane into a thick forest.
And Mark Davis? He is visiting Portage au Prairie, Manitoba, scouting stadium locations.
The parallels to last year’s Matt Flynn/Terrelle Pryor/Matt McGloin disaster are too tempting to take seriously. Nothing ever works that serendipitously.
But the new love affair for Carr is being driven by the same force -- the fact that the worst Raider quarterback is always the current starter. From the moment Rich Gannon collapsed in 2003, the Raiders have offered us:
And now Carr.
Some have been The Grizzled Veteran Who Had Success Somewhere Else. Some have been The High Draft Choice. Some have been The Nobody They Found At Bed Bath And Beyond.
They’ve all had their turn. They’ve all failed. And the one common thread is that the Raiders as an organization have the attention span of an anopheles mosquito.
Years of almost unremitting stink will undermine anyone’s judgment, and Schaub was a bit of stretch when he was signed. But the notion that Allen and therefore McKenzie would toss him overboard based on this level of evidence is so monumentally stupid that it can only be called . . .
. . . and we are reluctant to do this knowing what the reaction will be . . .
. . . Raideresque.
What needs to be done is this: Schaub is named the starter unless his elbow is too bad to use. He’s the investment, and more than that, he’s the plan. Throwing the plan away for the second year in a row will only convince everyone inside the building what everyone outside the building has suspected for years.
That the left hand doesn’t even know there’s a right hand, let alone what it does.
Allen is playing the decision with his usual stupefying coyness, and Mckenzie is leaving the public explanations to Allen -- as though there is still something to weigh. And if there actually is something to weigh, then either there is no plan, or they don’t think enough of it to follow through on it.
And you know what happens next? Players get right to the “nobody here knows what they’re doing” stage, and they start figuring out ways to escape, as so many of their predecessors have in the past. Players may say they believe in the staff, but they are also too smart to ignore evidence, and this much indecision this often is pretty damning evidence.
But let’s give benefit to the doubt. Let’s say at least for now that they will stay the course at least awhile, to show that all their big-braining of the offseason actually meant something. Throwing the quarterback over the side at the first sign of dissatisfaction has been a Raider tradition for far too long. To do it again means five more years of winter, and frankly, the groundhog is getting tired just climbing out of the hole to be bothered with anything else.