Well after all the crying and whining that was done about Veldy and Houston and Saffold - we had a period of solidarity as we wrapped up some much needed experienced vets with SB victories under their belts. Restocking our beat up lines. The crying and whining stopped for a bit and it was back to the MM vs TP debates of ridiculousness. Well after many weeks of rumors - it appears that RM is getting his QB in Schaub and the crying and whining has started again. So here's what I've seen since my last post:
#1 - Veldy is gone and it's not the end of the world. We grabbed a 7 year solid starter and former Pro Bowler (Something Veldy has never been btw) to start at LT in Penn. He can teach Watson the ropes and who knows maybe Watson takes the job outright in camp - it has already been stated that all positions our up for grabs and the best 5 OL will start. I have no problem with that at all - may the best guys win. Anyway you slice it our OL will be better this season.
#2 - Houston is gone and it's really not the end of the world either. I liked Houston but he was never the dominate pass rusher we needed at DE. He was hard worker and good run stuffer at times but no one will confuse him with Watt or Peppers or the guy we signed to replace him - Tuck. Speaking of signings - for the amount Chi-town coughed up for Houston we signed Tuck, Woodley, Smith and Brown. That's Raider ass moves right there IMO. So the DL and the secondary improves as well.
#3 Been a lot of talk about signing guys over 30 - well I counter that with Woodson's play last season. The guy played his ass off and don't forget that many experts were questioning his skills and the signing itself at the beginning. I see Tuck, Woodley, Smith, Penn & Woodson (again) as the same this season. For decades the Raider have been grabbing guys other teams wrote off and ringing some much needed good years out of them. It's not any different now except we didn't pay Tuck Seymour money. I believe we're still building through the draft but it's foolish not to have some SB winning vets on your team to help infuse the message of what it takes to get there and win. Perhaps not all of these guys pans out but their wisdom and preparation will rub off on the young guys we already have and those we will bring in. As much as I liked both Veldy and Houston, they did not bring that level of play or experience and I think that's a big reason why they were not retained.
#4 Schaub - Been a lot of hate thrown this guy's way cause he just had the worst year of his career. It was ugly bad. But let's take the time to look at the Houston Texans season last year - it was atrocious. Across board everyone underwhelmed and that's why they now have the #1 pick in the draft. Foster was lost, Tate regressed, even AJ (although he had 1400 yards) only had 5 TD's. For some reason people have decided Schaub was/is finished last season but don't take this into consideration:
A) As bad as he was last season, he still managed to better both MM & TP in every category. Yards, TD's, Completion % and QB rating. Now he did manage to surpass them in INT's as well but looking at his track record as a pro, it's safe to consider that an anomaly i.e. he had a bad year on a bad team. And before you crucify the guy for that, remember that we suffered through Palmer and his penchant for INT's already and survived. BTW Palmer did it again this season (Throwing 22 INT's) and yet his team managed to win 10 games in a very tough division.
B) This guy is one year removed from throwing 4K yards and 22 TD's vs 12 INT's. This is not some Freeman or Sanchez with one good year under his belt. And for those pro Vick? Despite having a better year in passer rating - his completion % was worse that MM and he couldn't stay on the field last season. Vick is also a full 10 points lower in career passer rating than Schaub who (up until last season) has been a model of consistency. This is why, despite his terrible year, he still boasts a career 90 Passer Rating. Going back to 2007 he had an average passer rating of 93 until last season. This is a guy who can play QB very well in the NFL and do it better than any other FA available.
C) We need a bridge QB IMO. MM nor Pryor is ready and I would argue that none of the QB's coming out is either. Again - look at the Packers. They drafted Rodgers, sat on him while they tweaked his mechanics, let him learn the offense and when he was ready, they unleashed him. I'd love to see us do the same. I really don't care if we go QB in round 1 now or we go QB in round 3 or 4. Grab a guy this draft or next and groom him - in the meantime he and the others already on the roster can learn from Schaub and hone their craft.
D) No one is really paying attention but we need to spend 89% of our cap which could be difficult to do without seriously overpaying some guys. Schaub being expensive helps to cover part of that problem as he will cost us 11 million this season. None of his contract is guaranteed and if we find our QB of the future this season or next we can cut him with no serious repercussions financially. If he performs well, his salary will continue to help us meet the cap requirements for 2015 & 2016.
E) This might be the most important point - By adding Schaub, we don't necessary need to draft a QB in round one. We can really do whatever appeals to us most now. Draft a QB, Draft Watkins, Robinson, Mathews or Mack, Trade down and grab Donald or someone else. The possibilities are now endless. This is a nice problem to have depending how we have our draft board ranked - because it puts us in the driver's seat. That is just fine with me as this gives us the latitude to really get the guy we want and hopefully makes our chances of adding a true impact player, a little better.
Well that's all I have for now but I think it's safe to say that we've improved the team considerably since everyone lost their minds at the beginning. Now if we gave up anything higher than a 5th for Schaub than we might have a problem.