The question of whether Carson Palmer or Terrelle Pryor should start at quarterback next season for the Oakland Raiders is a popular topic of conversation. However, fans that focus on this question are missing the bigger picture with this team.
The Raiders were the fifth-worst running team in the NFL and some of that can be blamed on the play calling. However, when you’re averaging less than 100 yards per game on the ground there are other variables at play. Darren McFadden only averaged 60 yards per game and had two rushing touchdowns, unacceptable for someone who thinks of himself as an elite running back. A lot of the blame can fall on the offensive line, which gave up 27 sacks and put the quarterback on constant pressure.
If you don’t think the offense is an issue, take a look at the 28th-best scoring defense in the league. The defensive line seemed to have found its groove late in the season, but Oakland is in desperate need of a playmaker at linebacker and a good cover corner. The Raiders gave up 28 passing touchdowns and opposing quarterbacks had an average rating of 97.5, the third-worst in the NFL. Oakland gave up 18 rushing touchdowns, a tie for third-worst in the league, and its rushing defense was worse than the stats given how often teams threw on it early in the season.
Raider Nation can continue to debate whether Palmer or Pryor should start, but it won’t solve the issues Oakland has to address this off-season. There are still six months to discuss who the better option for the Silver and Black is, but if the Raiders worry too much about who’s going to be under center, the true defects will hurt this team next season.