I wrote off the Raiders 15 minutes after free agency began, wrote them off as soon as general manager Reggie McKenzie let franchise left tackle, Jared Veldheer, sign with the Cardinals. The Raiders will be lucky to win five games next season, I wrote.
Since then, the Raiders have signed 11 new starters. All but one are older than 28. McKenzie is building a win-now team. Think about that. He is not building for the long term. He wants to win now.
Let's try to see things from his perspective.
He signed a quarterback, Matt Schaub, who is six months younger than Eli Manning. Like Manning, Schaub was a Pro Bowler in 2012. Like Manning, Schaub stunk in 2013. His passer rating was 73 – awful, but not as awful as Manning's, which was 69.2.
Schaub's 89.8 career passer rating actually is much better than Manning's, which is 81.2.
Here's the thing.
Schaub may have the football equivalent of post-traumatic stress disorder. In four-consecutive games last season, he threw an interception that got returned for a touchdown. An NFL first. If you type into Google, “How many pick sixes,” Google assumes you're asking about Schaub. “How many pick sixes has Schaub thrown,” pops up on your screen.
The Pick-Six King.
If he can overcome that stigma and stop throwing touchdowns to the other team, the Raiders have a puncher's chance this season.
McKenzie signed three new starting offensive linemen – Donald Penn, Kevin Boothe and Austin Howard – three new starting defensive linemen – Justin Tuck, Antonio Smith and LaMarr Woodley – and two new starting cornerbacks – Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown, former 49ers. Those three position groups should be strengths for the Raiders next season.