The most successful teams in the NFL have their franchise quarterback. No other position in the NFL is as valuable. Teams, however, don’t need a spectacular quarterback to win. Look at San Francisco, Tampa Bay and the Giants. More than anything, teams need a reliable quarterback to hold it together that does not give away the game. When NFL teams struggle for years, it’s largely due to the team’s perpetual ineptness at quarterback.
This year Miami, Indianapolis and Minnesota have arguably the worst quarterback situations. It seems every week these teams get embarrassed like the Raiders did last week against Kansas City. Not since the inept team of 2006 have the Raiders been shutout at home versus an AFC West rival.
Hue Jackson has reminded everybody how valuable a stable, quarterback is. If the scrappy game against the Houston Texans was this emotional high of the season then the embarrassing loss in Oakland vs. Kansas City was the low. Hue Jackson’s “gamesmanship” caused a resurfacing of past quarterback woes. It is now up to Hue Jackson to right the ship.
The window for this Raiders team to win is over the next few seasons. On the defensive line, veterans Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly are at the near end of their prime. In the secondary Michael Huff and Stanford Routt at their prime. Darren McFadden will go through his prime and Michael Bush might still be affordable. Darius Hayward-Bey, Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore will provide enough speed to stretch the defense and enough skill catch the ball. During these years, the offensive line will be anchored by left tackle Jared Veldeer and center/guard Stefen Wisniewski . All the Raiders really need is a stable, reliable, not necessarily spectacular, quarterback.
Hue Jackson bet two valuable draft picks that Carson Palmer is stable, reliable and more. The truth is if Hue Jackson was not in Oakland, Carson Palmer would not be a Raider. An argument can also be made, if Al Davis was still alive, Palmer wouldn’t be a Raider. Palmer’s success will undoubtedly define Hue Jackson legacy.
If Palmer is not successful in Oakland, then Jackson and Palmer will likely get kicked out of Oakland with the same boot having missed the window Al Davis spent his final years building. If Palmer is successful during this window and leads the Raiders into the playoffs, Hue Jackson will become a new icon in Oakland and may never leave.