Despite Derek Carr receiving his long-term contract, there are still questions surrounding the quarterback situation both long-term and short-term.
As the Oakland Raiders head into the 2017 season, its ideal for Raider Nation to know that franchise quarterback Derek Carr was locked up during the offseason, which cements his status with this team and organization for years to come. In spite of this, the quarterback position on the depth chart leaves some unanswered questions as the season draws near.
Eddie Paskal of Raiders.com recently previewed the teams’ positions as camp will soon commence, and the quarterback slot brings with it some concerns.
Will Derek Carr pick up where he left off?
Last year Carr was having what many considered an “MVP-type” season before suffering a season ending injury. After rehabbing and now with camp soon getting underway, it’s been accepted that Carr will ultimately pick up where he left off and lead the team to the promised land.
“Carr is thankfully healthy once again; he participated in the entirety of the team’s Offseason Workout Program, and we’ve been given every indication that he won’t be limited when the team reports to training camp in Napa.”
-Eddie Paskal on Carr’s health
Of course, that’s music to fans’ ears, but let’s not forget that Carr is a brilliant player and will need to make adjustments to his game just as any quarterback would do after suffering a devastating injury. In other words, we shouldn’t be surprised if there’s an adjustment period at first in which he “changes it up” or plays with a little more caution; again, completely normal.
What kind of role will E.J. Manuel have with the team?
After Carr went down the Raiders found themselves in a mess, Matt McGloin once again proved ineffective after getting a shot albeit against the Denver Broncos in what was probably one of the biggest games of the year. Similarly, Connor Cook showed some flashes but was unable to get much done in the Raiders’ only playoff appearance since 2002, but to be fair, he was a rookie thrown into the fire in that situation.
Enter former Buffalo Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel who was picked up by the Silver and Black after having to fail to lead his former team to any significant success. However, being at a relatively young age and having some experience it might be just what the Raiders need if any calamity were to befall Carr this season.
Another thing that Paskal pointed out that might be interesting is the connection that Manuel and new offensive coordinator Todd Downing share from Downing’s time with the Bills.
“Todd Downing is set to start his first season as Offensive Coordinator, but in 2014 he was the quarterbacks coach for the Buffalo Bills, where he worked for the first time with Manuel.
Just by taking a look at Manuel, you’re made keenly aware that the man is an athlete. The former Florida State Seminole is 6’4″ and 237 pounds, but if he wants to be the second quarterback on the depth chart, he’s going to have to show there’s more to him than just pure athleticism.”
-Paskal on the Manuel/Downing dynamic and what Manuel can bring to the table
If Manuel goes into his current situation with a measure of poise and determination to prove pundits wrong, might the Raiders have a “quarterback controversy” brewing? The Bay Area is no stranger to that as it was witness to probably the greatest one of its kind with the “Montana-Young debacle.” Worst case scenario is that a motivated Manuel breathing down Carr’s neck might only serve to motivate him as unlikely as that scenario might be.
What’s the long-term deal with Connor Cook?
As ridiculous as it might seem but when general manager Reggie McKenzie drafted quarterback Connor Cook many fans and pundits believed Cook would be a better fit than Carr in the long run. Well after his playoff performance that was laid to rest but that isn’t to say Cook can’t be a good NFL quarterback.
The agreement amongst many in the media is that Cook was brought in to provide “quality depth” at the position which was a lesson from McKenzie’s time with the Green Bay Packers. That’s understandable and smart on McKenzie’s part but then why make a move for Manuel? The small sample of Cook’s play last season isn’t indicative of what he’s capable of but then why not hand him the backup slot and allow him to flourish under Carr’s tutelage? If Manuel beats out Cook for the job and proves his worth with some playing time, then it’s possible the Cook pick was a waste and would’ve been used more efficiently on players like Joshua Perry or Tyreek Hill.
Whatever the case may be this season it was unforeseen moving forward that this position might have some drama after all, but we’ll stay tuned.