Thursday, February 16, 2006

Unsolved Mystery: Next Raiders QB

I took some heat several weeks ago for suggesting that Jon Kitna merits consideration in the wake of what was once considered the inevitable dismissal of Kerry Collins. I was careful to note several contingencies, such as the Raiders’ penchant for signing grizzled veterans at QB and the fact that Kitna is a free agent itching for a starting role. It's important to cover your ass when suggesting that Jon Kitna might be a sensible pickup.

Regardless, availability was, and is, essential to this discussion. Yes, perhaps David Carr danced like sugarplums in your dreams. But he was never available and now he’s locked up.

Now comes the three-year signing of Kurt Warner by the Arizona Cardinals. Suddenly, Josh McCown, a free agent, is expendable in the desert. Suddenly, he’s wearing the availability halo. Very interesting.

There are two factors that make McCown particularly intriguing. First off, the guy has shown some poise and promise with the Cardinals, and is in fact the only QB who has won games for Denny Green over the past two years. Second, it’s the Cardinals, who screw everything up—which means signing Warner is a big mistake and the football gods are now sure to shine on McCown.

Three years ago, NFL newcomer McCown chucked a 28-yard touchdown strike on fourth and 25 as time expired in the final game of the season to knock the Vikings out of the playoffs. Perhaps that was a flash of things to come, only to be crushed by the grand losing tradition and bizarre personnel moves of the Arizona Cardinals.

I don’t know if McCown's a great answer, but I guarantee you that he would show more fire and win more games that Kerry Collins (as would Kitna, whom Sports Ilustrated declared this week the NFL's "best backup quarterback"). Maybe McCown is ready to bust out. Maybe he could fend of Andrew Walter for several years. Maybe Walter would fend him off. But at least we’d be talking about promise and passion again at the QB position.

Meanwhile, the Culpepper talk is still simmering. But is he available? And will he even be ready to play come September?

Right now, the Raider Nation may be divided on some issues, but we seem almost unanimously united in the notion that Collins must go. He is a complicit symbol of the Norv Turner era, short on passion, long on losing. I am confident that Mr. Davis and Coach Shell will come to the same conclusion.

If Collins is shown the door and Walter still isn’t quite ready for the starring role, then it’s time to turn the QB burner on high and get the discussion cooking.

P.S. I am writing this addendmum at 7:15 a.m. before I am miscast as the president of the Josh McCown fan club, as a few folks have suggested.

I'd love Schaub, too. But as LK said in the comments section, it's really doubtful that Atlanta will dangle him. Again, availability is key. Until I hear that Houston is dangling Carr or Atlanta is dangling Schaub or San Diego is dangling Brees, then I've got them categorized as wishful thinking, right alongside Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

Free agent QBs who are viewed as on the "outs" with their teams are the guys I'm looking at right now. These are guys that a team like the Raiders, if they have the cap room, can go wine and dine and sign. No wishful thinking. No trade demands.

I would love to see Andrew Walter step up and be the future. I dig the guy. But is it realistic for a new coach to build his team around last year's 3rd stringer? I'm not saying Walter can't do it, the question is when? 2006? And who would his backup be? Collins? Remember, Walter has been injury prone. If Collins takes a pay cut and somehow becomes Walter's backup, you might need to brace yourself for "Return of KFC."

I must sign off now, I'm choking on my Lucky Charms.


Blogger Calico Jack said...

RT - McCown is definitely worth considering. I like his spunk, passion and overall skill set. He has all of the necessary physical tools including good mobility. It is difficult to get a true read on his track record and performance since he has been yanked around by Denny Green the last few years.

For the Raiders to start fresh in 2006, rid themselves of the losing culture, and finally turn the page on the wretched past 3 years, KFC has be shown the door. As long as KFC is under center, a black cloud will hang over the Raider Nation.

Give me hope and potential over a proven loser anyday. It is sad to say but you could virtually name any replacement for KFC including Walter and even Tui and I would be more hopeful of a brighter future.

Of course I want the best available QB whether it is via trade or free agency. However at this point I would even settle for a QB who is merely a better game manager or savvy veteran or even an unproven commodity (Walter) over the alternative of keeping the status quo.

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like this idea, McCown is a QB I haven't even thought about when thinking about QBs to take over under center. I haven't thought about specific ways to actually get them but I have a few QBs I would love to see in the Silver and Black.

One is the Falcon's Matt Schaub. He is young and in many respects (almost all except speed and agility) better than Mike Vick. He took over for Vick during the season and threw for 298 yards and 3 TDs against the Patriots despite losing by a few points. He would be great at managing the offense and has a terrific arm and good vision. I can see him taking us far.

Another one would be the Jaguar's David Garrard. Honestly, I don't understand why people think Leftwich is better than Garrard. They are virtually identical except Garrard won't sit in the pocket and get walloped, he'll bust out and run. Not a big talker but leads by example and exemplifies the toughness the Raiders are trying to recapture.

Those are two I'm big on but some other choices include the Titan's Volek, the Saint's Aaron Brooks (although I don't know how far he could take us), and Culpepper if we can get him.

It's obvious we need change and taking a risk with a young but talented QB would be better than sitting on Collins as he slowly deteriorates until he retires. He can be a great QB but he needs obscene amounts of time to pass consistently and still gets "jumpy feet" when the pocket closes. 21 TDs is not bad for a normal offense but when you have Moss, Porter, Gabriel, Whitted, Curry, some decent tight ends, and Lamont Jordan catching out of the backfield, you have to do better.

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think McCown, & Schaub are just as unproven as A. Walter, so, I would rather us go with our own player. I blogged a few weeks ago that if Tom Brady had been drafted by the Raiders, it's quite possible he never would have played. You never know what you have until the player plays in meaningful games. We never found out about Tui, I would like to see Walter get a real,long look. Maybe he's another Brady, who knows.

11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RT: When you look at the recent success of Kitna and Palmer in Cinnci, it makes you go hmmm...

Why not grab the guy developing these QBs instead of chasing the product?

Ken Zampese would make me a hella lot happier than Kitna, and I don't want to be asking "What could Walter do?" four years down the road like we did with Tui.

I sugggest Zampese might make Walter look like Palmer or Big Ben if we can get him a solid O-line and power runnning game to work behind. Get a veteran back-up to help tutor him and provide insurance, and bingo!

BTW, I have talked to >1 Raider fan who says they will not go to games next season if KFC is still stumbling, bumbling, and fumbling as the starter...

5:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Raider00. The Raiders have got to get an extensive look at Walter to see what they have. That Tom Brady example you brought up was right on the money. I'm sure he would of never seen the light of day here with the Raiders. I also think the Raiders have to take a strong look at whoever is supposedly grooming the QB's because it's not working. It was a freakin shame to have Tui on board this long and never log some significant playing time...


5:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only thing common in this discussion is KFC must go!

McCown would be an upgrade over Collins due to his mobility and willingness to give up his body, but his decisionmaking is poor. He would be an upgrade but not the whole enchilada, although he could maybe grow in the job. He is close in age to Walter and Tui so I would argue why not go with one of them and see if either can be the 'whole package'?

on Culpepper--I am reading he won't be back until October and I would be way skeptical of his skills coming off the year and injuries he had.

Atlanta will not trade Schaub because of Vick's fragility; there's probably a better chance of getting Vick than Schaub

Aaron Brooks is worse mentally than Collins, if that's possible

I don't think the book is closed on Carr until the Commish speaks the words 'the Texans select Reggie Bush'...he signed for three more years which makes him tradeable, if they pick VY or Leinart

Garrard is too scatter-armed which is why he doesn't start in Jax

I like Kitna better now than I did at the end of the season and he is the type [age/experience] who would be a good fit if Walter/Tui need time....but I can't see how Cincy won't lock him up given Palmer's situation?

This doesn't paint a pretty picture; I'm for letting Walter/Tui compete with a veteran in the wings, but I can't come up with who--gotta go investigate more. Sorry for the War & Peace post.

6:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your boy Daunte is on the hooka early this morning . It says here he wants a $10 million raise....if you scroll doen further there is speculation the Vikes are shpping him for a two

6:51 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

I'd love Schaub, too. But as LK said, it's really doubtful that Atlanta will dangle him. Again, availability is key. Until I hear that Texas is dangling Carr or Atlanta is dangling Schaub or San Diego is dangling Brees, then I've got them categorized as wishful thinking, right alongside Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

Free agent QBs who are viewed as on the "outs" with their teams are the guys I'm looking at right now. These are guys that a team like the Raiders, if they have the cap room, can go wine and dine and sign. No wishful thinking. No trade demands.

I would love to see Andrew Walter step up and be the future. I dig the guy. But is it realistic for a new coach to build his team around last year's 3rd stringer? I'm not saying Walter can't do it, the question is when? 2006? And who would his backup be? Collins? Remember, Walter has been injury prone. If Collins takes a pay cut and somehow becomes Walter's backup, you might need to brace yourself for "Return of KFC."

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RT-very valid point about a new HC turning to last year's third stringer. He wont go in with that plan out of the box, it would have to come down like there's a vet on board, and Walter just so outplays him in camp and pre-season, Art makes the move. McCown could work and if AZ is stupid enough to resign Warner, they may have no interest. Here's some other QB's in the mix: Patrick Ramsey, Trent Dilfer, Charlie Batch

8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Collins had decent numbers last season simply because he was successful throwing the ball earlier in the season with an excellent 12 TD to 3 INT ratio and a higher QB rating than Jake Plummer. Then he went back to the old Collins the rest of the season minus an impressive game against the Giants. With the particularly fast defenses in the AFC West, Collins simply can't save himself when the pocket collapses around him. We need a fiery QB to lead this team, someone who may not have a lot of experience but ignites a passion to win through his own enthusiasm and confidence.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...






10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon-Oaktown police will need half the force just to bring this squad to practice....

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey guys (and gals if any). i haven't said or done anything the last few days re: all the latest news. i've just been soaking everything in. ok - after thinking about this coaching situation, i have at least come to this conclusion: because NO-ONE want any part of al davis (and spin that any way you want) i do admit that art shell is a better and safer choice than fassel. but what bothers me now is the fact that tom walsh will be the OC. what? the guy has been out of the nfl for how long? PLUS, check out neil hayes' article today in the CC Times.

re: the QB. you see/read the goings on about kfc. my thing is this: ABK. anyone but kerry. sure, i'll take kitna over collins any day. but the raiders need to make a serious splash to sell tickets. and abk/kfc won't do it. then we hear that people want culpepper. i think this would be a very serious mistake. the guy is damaged goods. let's just wait a while to see the favre other options favre that might be available. you just never know. heck someone like (did i mention) favre might not want to be involved in a rebuilding project. a tired and beat up favre is better than a lot of qb's out there.

i just hope al doesn't waste yet another #1 on the best and fastest athlete in the draft or the biggest hitter. then again we are talking about al davis. and everyone knows how much i love al right? yeah right. let's not talk about the #2 he wasted on tui, or the #1 on janikowski, harris, buchanon etc. oh wait - i said i wouldn't talk about that didn't i?

i read somewhere that the raiders might trade with the ravens for lewis. if that's true, i hope it's NOT with our #1. trade the inconsistent porter but whatever happens, that #1 is our future!

i say put brayton back where he belongs (and gallery too for that matter). he did farely well on the line in his rookie year. give him a chance to develop there along with the other young guys ie: hawthorne & kelly. in the draft, do whatever it takes to get aj hawk. if we get him, no need for that muderer (or accessory to murder) lewis. LB is our biggest weakness. no more DL's posing as LB's. art shell said himself that we need to run the ball better and STOP the other team from running. that means shoring up at LB. we have enough on the line. let's build up the LB's. the o-line can be fixed through trade or the draft.

in all, we have 5 more years to enjoy our raiders before al moves them out again. this is a FACT boys and girls. get used to it. the practice facility belongs to the city/county of alameda come 2010. this was part of the agreement to drop the lawsuit between the 2 parties. by then, hopefully someone somewhere can find a way to keep the raider name in oakland. when al davis goes, the team will be handed to his son mark. i seriously doubt that he will all of a sudden change the ways of his father. so we can probably expect more of the dark side. i mean that in a literal sense.

as for art shell..... yeah he won back then. but this is a different era now. but he said all the right things in his press conference didn't he? like i mentioned before, i went to a lot of those LA games. they were as undisciplined then as they are now. al said he wants to go back to the raider way? shell wants discipline? hmmm, didn't al say recently that he DID NOT want a disciplinarian for a coach?

so what does art shell do when randy moss jogs on a play that he's not involved in? does he bench him? i don't think so. now we have the marcus allen issue all over again folks! i think y'all get my drift.

bottom line is, we'll see what the next few weeks and months brings.

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did any of you ex-psl'ers get your ticket renewal packet from the Raiders?

It came in a sweet looking folder with a somewhat personalized letter. You can already get a feel that the Raiders are going to do 100x the job that OFMA did with marketing and ticket sales.

Hopefully we can get rid of KFC like we did OFMA.

Also, Mt. Davis and equivilent seats dropped down to $26 - $36....should be much easier to sell out now and get a true home field advantage (not that you all weren't doing a good job with 40K seats filled).

2:24 PM  
Blogger js said...

I agree with Ik here. Teams seldom let quarterbacks with real starting potential go. (Though Schottenheimer might. He did, after all, let Gannon go so that he could pursue the greatness of Elvis Grbac. Could he be dumb enough to let Brees go for nothing? I doubt it, but here's hoping.) Other teams, ever mindful that their starters could fall at any time, hold onto quality backups and potential starters like grim death, only letting them go when they're past their prime, injury prone, or otherwise deficient. (The way the Giants got rid of Kerry Collins, millions of dollars ago.)

So Brees may test the market in a few weeks, and Pennington might leave the Jets if they don't restructure his deal. (Yes, I know, Pennington doesn't fit the offense and is coming off a shoulder injury. But a) Hostetler didn't have a big arm either, and he did a good job for Art Shell and b) Pennington puts a catchable ball in a receiver's hands, which is more than can be said for Collins.) Still, both of these scenarios are iffy at best, and one involving Daunte Culpepper is even less likely.

McCown, or someone like him, might be able to grow into the job, but we have two native Raiders who also answer that description. Going after McCown would mean looking for what we already have, which seems like a waste of money and effort. Let Walter and Tui battle it out in camp, while bringing on a veteran journeyman to play behind them. Annoint a starter in August and go from there. In the meantime, load up on offensive lineman and bring in a back to spell Lamont Jordan.

If we can run an offense the protects the new starter, so that he throws no more than 20-25 passes per game, we could do well.

But all of this starts by the Raiders losing 230 lbs of Kerry Collins. Let the diet begin.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

As much as I hate to say this, with the recent age movement (the opposite of youth movement), the scenario of KFC returning as starter seems more and more likely.

With the hiring of Shell and the apparently imminent hiring of Tom Walsh, the Raiders are looking with an eye towards their past and not the future. What that will probably mean, QB-wise, is that a big armed veteran will lead the team. With no one better to fit this bill on the free agent market, look to Kerry Collins to once again be the man. As some of you have mentioned, the best feasible alternate possibility is acquiring Culpepper, but he's a health question mark. Of all the other possibilities being mentioned (Schaub, Kitna, Volek, McCown, Brooks, etc.) I still think that, in Al's eyes, KFC with his extensive playoff experience (including a Super Bowl) holds more promise than any of them.

We've already seen an endorsement of KFC by management. Plus, the biggest reason for the gradual demise of KFC last year was the offensive line...something Al thinks he's probably addressed by hiring Art. As always, I think Al thinks he can win with only a few tweaks to the existing squad.

So, although I'd like to see Andrew Walter get some snaps at starter, I don't think we're going to see anyone but #5 back there next year behind center in the 1st quarter. On a somewhat positive note though, Vince Evans did see some decent time playing behind Schroeder and Hostetler (although I'm sure Hostetler's constant injuries had something to do with that) during Shell's first years, so maybe we might actually see Tui or Walter getting some snaps occasionally.

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, Walter was interviewed on the radio today and says he is working with Rich Gannon this offseason.

Walter is scheduled to meet with Shell on Monday, but I doubt Shell will make a decision on the QB starter anytime soon. Art admitted at the PC he hasn't studied enough game film to evaluate his personel.

In the meantime, please don't believe the "Collins is an excellent player" hype coming out of Shell's mouth right now any more than you believed Rainman when he said, "I'm an excellent driver."

Art Shell and Al Davis are not going to come out and say "KFC sucks" (though the Raider Take family likely would throw them a parade if they did).

You never publically denigrate your own players, especially if you hope to have any success trading them. That's just the way you play the game.

KFC will be toast once Art does watch the film. He's seen Jay Schroeder, so Art already knows what cr@p looks like!

4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about trading KFC, Porter, & the 6/7th pick to move up and get Matt Lienart ? Maybe the Jets, or Saints would bite. Hell, we can throw in Cwood too. No loss to us.

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon in Bama
Damn, we all want KFC outta there... please Art, stand up to the senile old man and 86 collins! Please or I won't even be able to watch it next year.
Here's a plan:
Send Collins, Porter and Gabrial to Baltimore for Lewis and Ed Reed. Baltimore is desparte for offense... they're tired of being defensive heavy and are ripe to steal these guys. And what do we give up? Three guys that don't show up in tough games.

Trade picks 2 thru 7 for Houston's #1 pick (they'd do it for a slew of pics), then Pick-up Vince Young. Man, he's no Michael Vick, he's better! This guy is SPECIAL. He goes out against Pete Carrol's defense and still does whatever he wants? 3rd and ten, no problem, I'll hike it and run the rock... 10 yards. C'mon... you don't think old Carrol's been around long enough as a defensive guy to stop a Michael Vick type of QB in a big game? Couldn't do it cuz the guys special and a winner. Did you watch him last year? The man's the biggest freak since Bo. Could you imagine a mobile qb like him (That can throw it a mile) running around buying Moss time?
With our other 1st rd pick please take AJ Hawk or Demeco Ryan! These two are also VERY special.
Then get DE Howard from New Orleans.
Our D would then be:
DE's- Howard & Burgess, with a DT rotation of Washington, Sapp and Kelly... our LB's would be Lewis in the middle with Morrison, and Hawk or Ryan on the other end. Fabian and Renaldo Hill at CBs with Ashawhatever in the nickle (more physical, larger than hill)... and safeties Reed and Schweigert! I don't care who's on offense. We start slapping LT and Shotty around, Shanny and Plummer around, and Trent Green is out by week 6. What a D and it COULD happen so easily. We could easily have that defense. We'd be in salary cap trouble but at least after everyone laughed at us so hard of late we'd start knocking some damn teeth out for two seasons. It'd be worth it.
My fellow Raider fans, if we trot Tyler Brayton back out there at OLB then you'll know Art & Rob Ryan ain't making no decisions on that team... period. It is THE litmus test for me.
Biggest year in our history, right here. I don't care if we get in salary hell... I want see shotty's face after we slap his team around. I gotta see that. And tanning bed shanahan too. We let Plummer beat us year in and year out? You gotta be freakin' kidding me! The games aren't even close and it is nauseating.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

JS, great to hear from you. Great points, as always.

Regarding McCown relative to Tui and Walter, in terms of him being the same as what we already have: McCown has a 9-10 record as a starter with the Cardinals (the Cardinals!) over the past two seasons.

In terms of experience and development (not just time in the NFL, but time on the field), I would thus say McCown's at least a full year ahead of Tui, and two to three years ahead of Walter.

Of course, if Walter proves to be a quick study like Ben Roethlisberger, then he could gain ground pretty fast. But that remains to be seen. I wouldn't bet my 2006 season and my "Just Win, Baby" motto on it.

The Norv Turner era really put us in a bind. Things got so bad that patience, never a Raiders virtue, is practically out of the question. We need to win some games, fast!

6:52 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

If KFC returns and the Raiders don't aggressively try to upgrade the D through the draft and trades, we will be stuck with a bottom third O and average at best D. This just won't get it done.

The Raiders need to establish an identity. Whether it is a high scoring offense with an improving D or a clock milking, efficient O with a dominating D.

Any way you slice it, bold decisions need to be made in the direction of the offense and defense. Creative and risky trades need to be explored.

Our shopping list of needs is pretty extensive;
1) QB
2) Playmaking OLB
3) Ball-hawking, run stuffing SS
4) OG
5) DE/DL depth
6) back up RB/3rd down specialist

With this extensive shopping list, it is highly unlikely to come away with all the pieces. There needs to be a clear direction on the priorities.

The most obvious priority is to replace KFC with a QB that can at least manage the game and change the dynamic of the offense. The starting QB has the biggest impact on the bottom line; Wins and Losses.

Both Patrick Ramsey and Billy Volek would both be likely available because of their team's QB depth. If Tennessee drafts VY as expected, how likely is it that Tennessee will have the luxury of keeping Volek as a #3 starter?

Any of these alternatives is an upgrade over KFC;
a) game manager (Dilfer, Koy Detmer, Frerotte) or b) unproven homegrown QB (Tui, Walter) or c) move up in the draft (Leinhert, Young) d) 3-6 years in the league veteran (ie. McCown, Volek, Ramsey, Griese, Simms) d) risky, or costly veteran (ie. Culpepper, Brooks)

I know it's unlikely but would New Orleans consider swapping picks and taking Collins off our hands. Wasn't Sean Payton Collins QB coach/OC in NY? Matt Leinhert is a smart, efficient winner.

If Baltimore wants to take KFC off our hands to unload Ray-Ray or Ed Reed that should be explored.

The ground swell of "Get Rid of KFC" will continue to grow. The Raider organization has to be very aware of this especially with the new responsibility of selling tickets.

With the hiring of Shell and back-to-back-to-back dismal seasons, this is the key time to make bold, decisive changes. There is no honeymoon season in 2006.

9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 5:16-
Dude, whatever you are smoking, drinking or otherwise ingesting, I need a hook-up. We just don't get sh!t that powerful here in Raiderland East

6:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well ESPN reported we may well be keeping Collins. they also mentioned the likelihood of Drew Brees becoming a free agent. Brees would be an excellent choice to legitimately challenge for the starting role. the issue would be in his pay, which could be very high.

no doubt tui and walter should get there shots but veteran leadership and challenge from a guy like Brees would push everyone to be better.

also, these draft dreams mentioned are never gonna happen. we are getting aj hawk or mario williams in the draft with the 6th pick, no question. and personally, i think that's a better choice then getting a QB as an early pick in the draft. good defenses hide and cover for half-ass quarterbacks.

if we do indeed stay with collins, he better work his ass off this off season because im sure he senses the heat he's gonna get from raider nation if he screws up again. maybe he should join walter in working with righ gannon. oh to have gannon back from a few years ago. moss would have nothing to complain about...but that's just dreaming...

8:43 PM  

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