This article is part of our Team Previews series.
STATE OF THE FRANCHISEFor the second year in a row, the Raiders were forced to make a last-minute quarterback change prior to the start of the season, and under eerily similar circumstances. In 2013, it was offseason trade acquisition Matt Flynn who was unable to overcome an elbow issue and poor performance in the preseason and he ultimately lost out to Terrelle Pryor. Last season, it was Matt Schaub, acquired via trade from the Texans, succumbing to an elbow injury and preseason struggles, with second-round draft pick Derek Carr overtaking him for the team's Week 1 assignment.
With a rookie at the helm and the Raiders receiving little from their many veteran free agent signings including Maurice Jones-Drew, LaMarr Woodley and Carlos Rogers, the team floundered to a 0-4 start. Oakland's early-season struggles followed a six-game losing streak to close out the 2013 campaign, all of which spelled the demise of Dennis Allen, who was relieved of his duties as head coach and replaced by Tony Sparano on an interim basis. Things were slow to turn around under Sparano, as the team went on to lose six more games before earning its first victory in Week 12, but the Raiders went on to win their final three home games to finish 3-13. While the season as a whole was an unfathomable step back from the previous two years, GM Reggie McKenzie didn't suffer the same fate as Allen. Instead, the focus turned to a new coaching