Schroeder Will Start Against the Broncos : Beuerlein Says He Won’t Mope After Raiders Switch Quarterbacks
Coach Mike Shanahan of the Raiders made it official Wednesday: Jay Schroeder will be the starting quarterback when the team plays the Broncos at Denver Monday night.
The news, predictably, was not warmly received by Steve Beuerlein, the former starter who, nonetheless, accepted it graciously.
He had seen it coming, of course.
“Why would I be disappointed?” Beuerlein asked rhetorically of a group of reporters before practice. “Obviously, I’d love to keep playing, but it’s not like it’s a surprise.
“I’ve been like everyone else, just knowing that it was a matter of time. So, I’ve had a little bit of time to prepare for it.
“I’m disappointed from the standpoint that you hate to give up a starting spot. I’m here to play football and I felt like I progressed and got better and put us in position to win football games.”
But . . .
“Fact is, the decision’s been made and I can’t mope about it.”
The decision to demote Beuerlein actually was made several weeks ago, of course, when the Raiders acquired Schroeder in a trade that sent offensive tackle Jim Lachey and several draft choices to the Washington Redskins.
“As I told Steve from the beginning, we brought Jay in here to be our quarterback,” Shanahan said. “He has experience, he’s 24-7 as a starter. We would not trade a person like Jim Lachey to bring in a quarterback as a backup.”
Beuerlein understood that, but he didn’t dwell on it.
Against the Rams last Sunday, he completed 19 of 38 passes for 375 yards and 2 touchdowns, the third-best day, in terms of yardage, in Raider history. In 3 starts, 2 of them losses, he completed 46.2% of his passes for 675 yards and 5 touchdowns. He threw 2 interceptions.
“When they brought him in, you didn’t need to be an Einstein to figure out what they were thinking,” Beuerlein said of Schroeder.
“I tried not to let it bug me--just went out and tried to do my job every week. And I will approach it with the same attitude now. I’ve still got to be ready to go all the time. When called upon, I expect to do well.”
So, he hasn’t done anything rash, like ask for a trade?
“No, I haven’t,” he said, laughing at the question. “Maybe next week.”
Schroeder, meanwhile, said he was excited, that he felt real good and was eager to get into a game.
“I think this is about the right time,” he said. “I had a couple of weeks to learn the system and watch everybody and get used to everybody, and have everybody get used to me being around. Now it’s time to go to work.”
With his strong play, Beuerlein made it difficult for Shanahan to make a change, Schroeder said. “But I think this is a decision Mike had to make, and we’re going to go with it.”
Coach Dan Reeves of the Broncos said he understood what went through the mind of Shanahan, his former offensive coordinator.
“You can make a lot more adjustments with a guy that’s got experience,” Reeves said. “Having gone through the thing with John (Elway), it’s very difficult when you’ve got a young quarterback.
“I can do a lot more things with John than I could. When he was young, you just had to stay with the basics. You couldn’t be very flexible. You can make more adjustments with a quarterback like Jay than you could with Beuerlein.”
What else will Schroeder bring to the Raiders?
“When he took over (in Washington) for (Joe) Theismann, I saw a rocket,” said Bronco running back Tony Dorsett, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys. “You’ve got some guys (in L.A.) with a lot of speed, and I’ll tell you 1 thing, Jay Schroeder has the arm to air it out. You’ve got the home-run hitters, and he can put it out there to them.
“He’s a big, strong quarterback. He’s mobile. He’s intelligent. I think he’s going to be a great addition out there. He’s going to make things a little more difficult in this division.”
But are 3 weeks a long enough time to learn the nuances of an offense as complicated as the Raiders,’ which is basically the same as Denver’s?
“I hope not,” Reeves said.
Coach Mike Shanahan, on quarterback Steve Beuerlein, who was sacked 9 times Sunday by the Rams: “In time, through experience, when he does feel a little pressure, he might be able to shuffle away. But right now, he’s so glued into looking at the coverage and going through his reads that he wasn’t able to do that a couple of times. Maybe in a year or 2, or maybe in 3 or 4 games, he might be able to. That only comes in time.” . . . The Raiders’ 25-5-1 record on Monday nights includes a 0-1-1 mark at Denver.