It took one week to undo a plan the Raiders had been executing for months. It took one sterling performance from rookie Derek Carr to unseat veteran Matt Schaub, the supposed franchise stabilizer who had been propped up as a top-10 quarterback.

Either the Raiders brain trust is shrewd, with enough sense to see the obvious -- that Carr is the right guy -- and should be praised for not stubbornly sticking to their original talking point.

Or, the decision-makers have officially arrived at desperation. So thirsty for wins and job preservation, they shucked the blueprint. Drunk off the hype from an exhibition game.

If it's the former, it would be a resume topper for general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen. Nailing the quarterback of the future is worthy of a stay of execution. They would not just have drafted correctly but developed Carr expeditiously and had the wherewithal to seize the moment.

But with the track record of this regime, can't help but think it's the latter. It's much easier to think the pressure got to them. They don't come off as the steady front-office types, taking a calculated gamble with enough credibility to tell everyone, "We got this."

Sure, the unsightliness of a Schaub-led offense, the potential of Carr, the expiring patience of owner Mark Davis, a win-starved fan base, that's some serious heat. But changing plans like this, it's not a confidence boost.


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This was a major shift. Schaub was supposed to guide this franchise for a season or two. The Raiders picked him off the scrap heap and went hard trying to convince us he was the road that led to respectability.

Carr wasn't supposed to touch the field until he was off breast milk. Even if he did get the nod sooner than planned, you'd have thought -- the way they sold it -- Schaub would at least get a few regular-season games.

So were they that wrong about Schaub or especially right about Carr?

"He's gotten better from the day he's gotten here," offensive coordinator Greg Olson said of Carr. "He's continued to improve. We thought he was a special player when we drafted him. We thought he had some of the abilities you look for in a special player, and he didn't disappoint us. He's just got better each week. But really, the week that Matt took off, (Carr) went in and did some good things."

Carr leaves room for the thought Raiders management is onto something. He's a talent, for sure. And they should get the credit if it turns out this kid is the truth.

Maybe McKenzie and Allen made this decision with input from the veterans on the squad who felt more confident with Carr at quarterback. A couple sources in the locker room said they believe Carr is the best quarterback on the roster. A couple key veterans believe he's ready to lead this team.

He'd better be. He's making his debut on the road against Rex Ryan, who has defense in his veins. Since taking over as head coach of the Jets, Ryan is 7-2 against rookies. The aggressive, blitzing Jets defense overwhelmed Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill and Josh Freeman.

Since the start of the 2009 season, 12 quarterbacks have started the opener of their rookie season. Four came out victorious.

It could very well be a long day for Carr. And it would be no knock on him. But what happens then? The same group who couldn't wait for their plan to come to fruition, do they wait out Carr's struggles or go back to the guy whom they gave up on in preseason?

The only thing stopping this from being a train wreck of an end to a disappointing tenure is the maturity and adaptability of Carr. Because if they're right, and the rookie is ready ahead of schedule, that would be a major coup for this front office.

"Listen," Allen said, "we're going to put a good game plan together. We feel good about the plan."

If only we hadn't heard that before.

Read Marcus Thompson II's blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/thompson. Contact him at mthomps2@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ThompsonScribe.

INSIDE
Raiders look to end Eastern time zone losing streak. PAGE 2