Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Raiders are Going Every Which Way at QB

I read a scathing article written by Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat newspaper .  All of Cohn's articles on the Raiders are scathing but this one caught my attention because he criticized the franchise's inability to develop Tyler Wilson.

Let's be fair.  The Raiders have never developed their QBs.  Not even Ken Stabler was a product of great coaching while with the Raiders. He benefited from a few years on the bench learning from George Blanda

In the case of Tyler Wilson, everyone had high hopes.  Yet, if we look at this realistically, it is only fairly recently a fourth round draft pick is expected to shine in his first camp.  It used to be expected that mid to lower round draft picks would be lucky to make the team for whatever reasons. If they did, they would be backups and work their way into playing time. Nowadays the Raiders are so depleted of talent, the thinking is every draft pick has to be a home run.

Wilson did not have a productive training camp and was beaten out for third string by undrafted Matt McGloin of Penn State.  McGloin is a welcome surprise and may in fact end up the starter by season's end. Wilson went unclaimed in waivers and is hanging by a thread on the Raiders practice squad right now.

First of all, you don't "develop" a QB in one training camp.  If the guy is expected to make the most of every snap as a third or fourth stringer then you are putting too much pressure on the guy and the pressure is unwarranted.  The second criticism Cohn makes is the reason Wilson did not make the 53-man roster is he was a slow learner (whatever sources Cohn has assigned that label to Wilson).  Cohn does make a good point that the Raiders should have evaluated his football IQ before the draft.  I think Reggie wanted Matt Barkely and when he was gone, they just grabbed the next best QB on the board which happened to be Wilson.  They obviously did not do their homework with him well enough.

Of the many holes to fill this past off-season, the Raiders did not seem to know what to do at QB.  It was obvious they did not like Terrelle Pryor. In three seasons, Terrell Pryor has gotten next to no help from the coaching staff to get where he is at today. He hired his own QB coaches and his own trainers in the off-season.

Unfortunately, Pryor is only an interim solution.  It is likely NFL defenses will key on his running ability and allow him to throw downfield and make mistakes.  Pryor's accuracy is questionable on his best day so he will have to prove he can handle that aspect to his game. Pryor is a read-option QB so he will also have to prove his durability by taking some hits.

In today's NFL, does the coaching staff take an active role in "developing" their young talent or do they just expect them to hit the ground running all the way down to film study and workout habits?  This is partially what led to the failure of Jamarcus Russell - though not even the very best of coaching could have salvaged him.  The fact remains, if you don't take an active role in nurturing your talent, they will fail.

The current QB coach is John DeFilippo who has been around and was actually on the coaching staff during the Jamarcus Russell debacle.  DeFillipo is not going to make a difference on a coaching staff no matter what angle is played. He is a non-factor.  So why is he there?  Well, there is no premium placed on developing QBs in the Raiders franchise.  It's that simple.  Reggie McKenzie and his flunky Dennis Allen made no change in this Raiders tradition.

Think back to the wasted talent of Andrew Walter. He came in and did pretty well at first but as the years went by, he languished behind the erratic play of Kerry Collins AND Marques Tuiasosopo.  Tui was a fan favorite until he got significant playing time.  Then he looked horrible, deflating the Tui myth. Yes, Tui did suck badly but you all thought he would be good, didn't you?  How could he have been good if no one coached him to be good as a pro?

We all thought Andrew Walter would be good too when he got his chance.  Well, he bombed out and when claimed off waivers, the Patriots coaching staff was astonished.  They could not understand how a gifted young QB could have regressed so badly in his years in Oakland.

Matt Flynn is certainly not the first high profile QB acquisition to fleece the Raiders. I think he was worth taking a chance on but not for 30 something million.  Are you serious Reggie?  I guess you are. Flynn is a big risk to rely on as your number one guy, especially so when your OL is in shambles.  Flynn is not a mobile QB but what makes him a viable option to Reggie is he is from Green Bay and everything from Green Bay must be salvageable because Reggie is familiar with it.  Right? Isn't that your logic Reg?

What is disturbing is the Raiders OL is in shambles trend has been in effect for a while. At times over the last 12+ years it has come together but not with any consistency. Actually the curse has been in effect ever since Barret Robbins wigged out on the eve of the Super Bowl.  The idiot chose that particular time to allow his mental illness to disrupt the team - and its legacy.  The O-line has never been the same since that fabled day.

Not that Robbins is the sole reason the Raiders lost so badly in that SB but he deserves to spend his life living under a bridge as punishment.

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