Editor’s note: Insider Scott Bair will be providing position-by-position breakdowns each day leading up to Raiders training camp, which opens on July 31.
Who they have: Derek Carr, Christian Ponder, Matt McGloin, Cody Fajardo
Who they lost: Matt Schaub
Looking back: The Raiders acquired Matt Schaub and the veteran’s hefty salary from Houston to add stability to the quarterback spot. He wasn’t able to do that. Schaub’s preseason struggles and clear lack of arm strength dropped him behind rookie Derek Carr on the depth chart. The No. 36 overall pick was decent and showed enough potential to give those inside and outside the organization faith that Carr can be a franchise quarterback.
Carr has a strong, accurate arm, play-extending mobility and a strong work ethic to improve upon last year’s deficiencies. Schaub was bad in limited action, and Matt McGloin was the No. 3 option after starting six games in 2013.
Overall outlook: Carr is the unquestioned starter heading into his second season. He was smart with the football and strong in the red zone last season, but needs to improve his yards per attempt and get the ball downfield with greater regularity. He struggled more on the road, and must deal well with hostile environments.
Carr is excited about new coordinator Bill Musgrave’s offensive scheme, which plays to his strengths and should allow the Raiders to move at a quicker pace. Efficiency will be key in those moments. The Raiders gave Carr new weapons, and his ability to use them will go a long way in determining the team’s fortunes this season.
Ponder is expected to be first off the bench, with McGloin in tow. That’s a strong trio in case of emergency, though the Raiders hope Carr plays every snap this season.
Camp competition: There’s a possibility the depth chart shuffles behind Carr, but it’s unlikely. McGloin is as competitive as it gets, and has confidence to match his strong arm. It would seem tough to unseat Ponder as the primary backup, though the preseason could alter things.
Undrafted rookie Cody Fajardo would need a strong training camp to enter this mix for a backup spot. McGloin is entering a contract year, though he’s set to be a restricted free agent, and could become a trade commodity should a team lose a No. 2 in the preseason.
Bottom line: It’s difficult to see movement in the depth chart. The Raiders will give Carr every opportunity to become the franchise quarterback they believe he is. Ponder’s experience and Musgrave connection – Musgrave was offensive coordinator in Minnesota with Ponder was the starter – should sustain him as the No. 2. McGloin is as good a No. 3 as there is in the league.