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The backup quandary

Both this site and I have been very supportive of the Raiders offseason, by and large, to this point.  This site has supported most of the cuts and the signings.  We understand why McKenzie had to cut who he did and mostly understand why he made the moves he did.

What I’m unable to understand is the lack of action on a backup quarterback to date.  To my mind, this is the biggest failing thus for for the current regime. 

A backup quarterback is a very important part of the team – just look to what happened to the Raiders last year when they were faced with Kyle Boller leading the team for the rest of the season, before trading for Palmer.

Because of the Raiders inactivity there are not many good options left in free agency.  The best include former Steeler Dennis Dixon, former Cardinal and Texan Matt Leinart and former Titan and Charger Billy Volek.

Of the three, Volek seems to be the best option.  He has played at a high level in relief of Chargers’ starter Phillip Rivers, knows what it takes to prepare as the number two QB and has a good skill set.  He also understands that he would not be competing for a starting spot and will not have an issue with that.

Dennis Dixon probably has the most upside.  He has flashed some skills and has the potential to be a low level starter in the league.  He also could be a backup.  He could serve as a mentor to Terrelle Pryor as well, which would be helpful.

Matt Leinart is a fan favorite but has not had much success in the NFL to date and has some injury concerns having gone on IR last season with an injury to his collarbone.  However, Raiders OC Gregg Knapp was the QB coach in Houston last season with Leinart so he seems the most likely at this point, if his body is recovered.

The Raiders are unlikely to draft a QB because it would mean that either Pryor – who is in essentially a rookie this year himself after not having a training camp – or a late round rookie that the team picked would be a Palmer injury from carrying the team.  That does not seem to be a good backup plan.

The lack of an established player behind Palmer is the biggest area that GM Reggie McKenzie needs to address and soon.  If one or more of the available players sign with other teams, the Raiders could really be in a pinch.

There are other holes on the team, but none that need to be addressed in free agency like the backup QB position.  Every other hole can be addressed in the draft or with undrafted free agents later.  I do not believe that the backup QB position can.  Plus, with the team scheduled to meet next week to get Knapp’s playbooks and initial team instructions before the first minicamp, it would behoove the Raiders to act upon this need immediately.

For Raiders news and analysis throughout the day, or to ask questions or tell me what you think, follow me on Twitter @AsherMathews