Much of the talk following the Oakland Raiders‘ recently concluded OTAs and minicamp has been about rookie QB Derek Carr‘s rapid development and ascension up the depth chart. He’s already vaulted over second-year quarterback Matt McGloin, and at least going into training camp, will serve as the primary backup to Matt Schaub. There is no question that Carr has people buzzing and many sports media figures already have him supplanting Schaub as the team’s starter by the start of the regular season.
As it turns out though, the veteran QB, as well as Raiders head coach Dennis Allen, may have something to say about that.
While much of the attention has been focused on Carr and the strides he’s taking as he adapts to the pro game, Schaub has quietly gone about his business, bonded with his team, and has thoroughly impressed the Raiders coaching staff. Following the team’s workouts, Allen spoke glowingly of his veteran quarterback to Raiders beat writer Scott Bair.
“I think he’s been outstanding. That’s what you’re looking for in a veteran quarterback. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of what we’re going to see out of Matt Schaub. Even though he is a veteran player, it’s still a different offense for him; it’s still something new. He’s still learning, but I’ve been very pleased with what I’ve seen out of him so far.”
Offensive coordinator Greg Olson‘s tactics are vastly different from what Schaub was accustomed to while with the Houston Texans. He has more freedom, as well as more responsibility. But he’s said that he, and the offense, have already worked through the entire playbook. He believes they have a firm grasp on all of the schemes, and now must work on all of the fine tuning.
“You know, I feel good, given where we are in the offseason progression, coming in a little over two months ago, and where we’re at as an offense. It’s a continuing process and each day we’re just trying to get a little bit better and pick out a few things to work on from the day before. It’s a never-ending thing, just continuing to get better.”
Despite all of the buzz surrounding Carr, and all of the rumors that he is bound to be on the bench behind the rookie, Schaub is maintaining his confidence, continuing to improve, impress the coaching staff, and justify the trade that brought him to Oakland in the first place.
A confident Schaub is a good thing. Even better though, is the bond he seems to be developing with WR Rod Streater. Trust and chemistry between quarterbacks and receivers are huge components to developing a potent passing attack, and since his arrival in Oakland, Schaub has gone out of his way to bond with his guys. But it’s Streater whom Schaub seems to be developing the tightest rapport with. In an interview with Raiders.com, Schaub praised his new target.
“I love the guy. He’s such a hard worker, you know. I’ve been fortunate enough to be around some guys who have put so much work and effort into their craft, but Rod’s one of those guys early in his career you could see really wants to be the best, and he works hard at it every day. I’m excited to watch him burst on to the scene even more this year.”
Streater had a bit of a breakout in 2013 snagging 60 passes, for 888 yards, and four scores – which is all the more impressive when you consider the inconsistency of the quarterbacking team that was throwing to him. But with an established veteran – one with a highly productive track record like Schaub – the third-year wideout seems poised to explode in 2014.
Derek Carr is, without a doubt, the future of the Oakland Raiders. He has the skill, talent, and attitude to be a great NFL quarterback. But Schaub is showing that he’s the quarterback for the moment, that he will rebound from a disastrous 2013, and that he still has the gas in his tank to lead this team toward good things this season.
Perhaps, with weapons like Streater at his disposal, even back to the playoffs.