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Lowell Cohn: Reggie McKenzie rolls the dice by trading for Matt Schaub

  • Matt Schaub set the wrong kind of NFL record last season when he had interceptions returned for touchdowns in four consecutive games. After the Raiders acquired him in a trade Friday, the question for 2014 is if that performance in Texas was a trend or an aberration. (WADE PAYNE / Associated Press)

Praise Raiders' general manager Reggie McKenzie for aggressively deconstructing and then reconstructing his team. As part of the reconstruction phase, he traded for Texans' quarterback Matt Schaub, no longer desirable in Houston because of the joke factor.

Last season, Schaub became a joke in the National Football League by throwing a pick-six four games running, a pick six being an interception that the interceptor runs back for a touchdown. Schaub's string of pick-sixes is a league record and a laugh riot. He was so bad the Texans benched him for a rookie.

So, did Reggie

McKenzie do right by getting Schaub?

Let's proceed slowly on this, looking at Schaub and the Raiders from several points of view.

By agreeing to pay Schaub more than 10 big ones, as in millions, next season McKenzie is anointing this guy the starter. Forget Matt McGloin, Terrelle Pryor and Trent Edwards. Forget taking a quarterback with the fifth pick in the draft. Schaub is The Man.

Give McKenzie credit for introducing clarity at the quarterback spot, although it's hard to ignore, in the past, McKenzie hasn't exactly been a quarterback savant. He got Matt Flynn before last season, upped his salary, and Flynn promptly lost the starting job to Pryor in the preseason. McKenzie got rid of Flynn before the season ended. McKenzie drafted Tyler Wilson in the fourth round and cut him — Wilson was the highest pick cut from the 2013 draft.

We view McKenzie's quarterback “vision” with a healthy skepticism, a skepticism he has earned.

That doesn't mean Schaub is a crummy choice or he will fail. The league liked Schaub when he came out of Virginia in 2004. Even then, he handled life at the line of scrimmage brilliantly and was perceived as a high-intellect quarterback. He never was a scrambler or an improviser, but he could be a prototype pocket passer with a little bit of pocket movement when needed. One scout who worked the East Coast for the Broncos was euphoric about his decision-making and reported Schaub had more than an adequate arm.

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