Don’t expect Raiders to pass on a Good Quarterback

teddy-bridgewater-louisvilleOnce again, the Oakland Raiders are coming off a very disappointing season where they finished 4-12 and were nowhere near the playoff picture. And once again, they have the opportunity to land a high draft pick who could make a huge impact on the struggling franchise.

The Raiders pick fifth in the 2014 NFL Draft and their immediate focus appears to be on a quarterback. Head coach Dennis Allen indicated this by saying that QB is “a position we’ve obviously got to look at.”

The word “obviously” definitely fits here because Oakland’s returning quarterbacks, Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin, don’t yet seem capable of leading a team to success. Pryor initially caused a spark after beating out Matt Flynn for the starting job in training camp. He rushed for 162 yards in the first two games of the 2013 season and led Oakland to a 1-1 record. Pryor was knocked out of the third game with a concussion and never developed any passing rhythm after coming back.

Pryor’s Week 9 MCL sprain gave undrafted rookie Matt McGloin an opportunity to start. Although he proved to be a better pure pocket passer with 1,547 yards, 8 TD’s and 8 INT’s, McGloin only led the Raiders to one win in his seven appearances.

Given their options, Oakland could definitely grab a more heralded signal caller. And the 2014 Draft class has a number of strong QB prospects, with Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles leading the way.

The only problem is that there are three other teams with pressing quarterback needs themselves. The Houston Texans, Jacksvonille Jaguars and Cleveland Browns all pick ahead of Oakland and could take a QB. Houston might go quarterback or defense, while experts definitely expect Jacksonville and Cleveland to go QB.

But this certainly hasn’t stopped Oakland from spending countless hours looking at game footage of passers. After watching the tape, Manziel is one prospect who really sticks out in Allen’s mind as he said:

He’s accomplished a lot at the collegiate level he’s been a very good football player being the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy speaks for itself. I think he’s a very talented football player, he’s a multidimensional football player. He’s able to throw the ball from the pocket and do things with his feet. As we get more into the evaluation process he’ll be a fun one to look at.

Once again, though, Oakland needs to prepare for a scenario in which they don’t get Manziel or the other two top signal callers. There are plenty of other potential stars in the draft, including South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and Auburn left tackle terrelle-pryor-raidersGreg Robinson. Plus, the team doesn’t sound like they’re entirely down on the returning quarterbacks. “One of those things we have to determine,” said Allen with regard to who’ll start next year. “We’re going to look at that position very closely. In my opinion we’ve got two young quarterbacks with potential.”

However, Allen played devil’s advocate by saying, “I don’t know the answer to that yet. The quarterback position is the backbone of your football team. We’ve got to make sure that when we go out there this year, we put ourselves in the best position to have success with the quarterback position.”

Assuming Oakland really feels some urgency in this draft, they might consider trading up into one of the top three positions. But is it worth sacrificing other draft picks to move up for one player when you’re a team that needs so much? Maybe so, when you consider the large amount of quarterback failures that Oakland has experienced over the past several years.

NFL Coaches on the Hot Seat in 2013: Gary Kubiak, Greg Schiano and More

greg-schiano-hot-seatAs is the case every year, certain NFL teams disappoint their owners and fans, which always puts the head coaches on the hot seat. In 2013, some of the more disappointing teams have been the Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins.

Of course, there are other teams that weren’t expected to do well this season, yet still need a good year to save their coach’s job. The New York Jets and Oakland Raiders fall into this category because fans and ownership are growing impatient with the lack of recent postseason bids. Now let’s take a look at how each of these team’s coaches are doing in their bid to stay employed.

Greg Schiano (Tampa Bay, 3-8) – Hot Seat Temperature: Very High – It was all but a forgone conclusion that Greg Schaino was going to be fired after the Josh Freeman mess and, more importantly, an 0-8 start. However, the Bucs have provided a glimmer of hope after winning three straight games. Make no mistake about it, Schiano is still in big danger of being fired. But if he can inspire his team over the remainder of the NFL season, maybe he stands a chance of being saved.

Gary Kubiak (Houston, 2-9) – Hot Seat Temperature: High – By most admissions, Gary Kubiak is a pretty good coach, which is why he’s been in Houston for eight seasons. But his team was built to win a title this year, and now they’re arguably the NFL’s worst. Of course, this isn’t all Kubiak’s fault since injuries and other problems have plagued his team. Unfortunately, few people are showing him sympathy, even after his mini-stroke a few weeks ago. His handling of the Case Keenum/Matt Schaub quarterback situation hasn’t helped matters.

leslie-frazier-hot-seatLeslie Frazier (Minnesota, 2-8-1) – Hot Seat Temperature: High – Most people realize that the Vikings overachieved when they made the playoffs last year, thanks to an absolutely torrid second half by Adrian Peterson. Even still, everybody expected them to at least be competitive heading into 2013. Much like Kubiak, Frazier has dealt with a quarterback debacle, having started Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Freeman at various points of the season.

Dennis Allen (Oakland, 4-7) – Hot Seat Temperature: High – An Oakland coach on the hot seat…imagine that. Allen has an 8-20 record over his season and a half with the Raiders, which isn’t going to turn any heads. This team received a boost from Terrelle Pryor’s excellent play early on. However, a sprained knee hampered Pryor and put a damper on the Raiders’ season. They’re still not completely out of the AFC Wild Card race, though, meaning Allen will need some wins to show he definitely deserves this job.

mike-shanahan-hot-seatMike Shanahan (Washington, 3-8) – Hot Seat Temperature: Medium – Shanahan didn’t exactly inherit the most talent in 2010, but still, he molded this team into a postseason club three years later. Now, with Robert Griffin III on the roster, Shanahan is expected to keep winning, which hasn’t happened in 2013. Players like DeAngelo Hall have expressed a desire for Shanahan to return next season. But whether this happens or not is mainly up to Daniel Snyder, who seems to really love Griffin’s talent above anything else.

Rex Ryan (New York Jets, 5-6) – Hot Seat Temperature: Medium – If there’s one team that’s exceeded expectations on this list, it is definitely New York. This was merely supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Jets, where Geno Smith was introduced as the franchise quarterback. However, things have flip-flopped, with the 5-6 Jets tied for the sixth AFC Wild Card spot, and Smith looking like a third-stringer. If Smith doesn’t play better soon, or if Ryan doesn’t bench him soon, the latter could be looking for another job.