In meeting with reporters just after this past season, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was asked if the team had a franchise quarterback on its roster.
No, he said, neither Terrelle Pryor nor Matt McGloin has yet stepped into that role.
“So absolutely, we’re going to always continue to upgrade and find that guy," he said. "Now how we find them, we’ll figure that out in the next few month, to what’s available to us.”
Of course, to everyone who heard those words, the indication was that Oakland would identify and pursue a quarterback in the draft, in free agency or both, and names such as Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Josh Freeman were tossed around.
Not once did anyone speculate about Matt Schaub.
Yet Schaub, who lost his starting job with the Houston Texans in 2013, is expected to be released soon by that team, and some reports have now indicated that Oakland might be his eventual destination.
Len Pasquarelli of the National Football Post reported recently that Schaub is on the Raiders’ radar.
“Just some scuttlebutt, but if (when?) the Houston Texans release Matt Schaub, the Raiders could be among the teams interested in the quarterback,” he wrote. “Schematically, it isn’t a great fit, and Schaub is more of a ‘systems’ guy, but it’s said he has some fans in the organization and would be a stabilizing factor.”
After some very good seasons with the Texans. Schaub, 32, had a horrible 2013 season, eventually being benched in favor of Case Keenum. Schaub played in 10 games and started eight and threw more interceptions (14) than touchdown passes (10). He had the worst QB rating (73.0) of his career since becoming a starter in 2007. Just a year earlier, Schaub had a 90.7 QB rating and had 22 TD passes vs. 12 picks.
But surely, McKenzie can’t be thinking of Schaub as the quarterback to lead a Raiders resurgence, but as an experienced backup, insurance and another arm in camp to raise the level of competition.
In the wake of a horrible season for the Texans, head coach Gary Kubiak was fired and one of his biggest sins was sticking with Schaub too long and not making the transition to the younger Keenum.
After Kubiak was let go, Texans owner Bob McNair was clear about that.
“We need to find out whether Case is capable of being a starter or whether he’s capable of being a backup, and the way you find that out is by playing him,” McNair said at a news conference. “We have waited to see how that was developing and to see how much progress we could make in the development of him as a player.”
With Schaub as the starter, the Texans tanked. And at one point when he was injured in a game, Texans fans cheered because they wanted him out of the lineup so much.
Though he’s just 32 – still prime time for an NFL quarterback – Schaub hardly fits the bill as the Raiders’ next franchise quarterback.