A popular trending topic is that Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr needs to go and that’s cool, but then, what? Instead of head coach Jon Gruden scrapping this offense, why not push his incumbent starter? Marcus Mariota could more than provide this push.
It is entirely possible that Carr returns as starting quarterback in the inaugural season in Las Vegas for this team, so what does the front office do then? Well, they could definitely draft a quarterback, but that pick could be used to address a more pressing need (I’m looking at you, defense). The answer could lie in free agency next year in the form of a veteran signing.
Mariota, who was the number two pick of the 2015 NFL draft, would provide a push up the depth chart for the Raiders. A push that’s sorely needed if Carr is the starter moving forward.
ESPN’s Field Yates recently stated that he viewed Mariota as primarily a backup at this crossroad of his career. Not an unfair assessment after losing the starting job to Ryan Tannehill this season, but this is beside the point. The fact is Carr has never really been pushed by the depth at quarterback in his career with Oakland.
Matt McGloin, Connor Cook, E.J. Manuel, A.J. McCarron and Mike Glennon: No disrespect, but that list doesn’t exactly install fear or a sense of urgency.
Mariota for his part, along with being an alternate at the 2016 Pro Bowl, has passed for 76 touchdowns and completed 62.9% of his passes. I think fans might have to face facts and accept that Carr isn’t going anywhere. Rather, why wouldn’t the organization want to push Carr to the next level if that is possible. And if it is possible, a player of Mariota’s caliber might be the answer. Carr has been coddled by this organization since having been given the keys as a rookie and in his sixth year, he has not led this team to anything but a playoff berth in 2016. The individual passing records are nice and merit recognition, but this is a team sport. Aren’t teammates supposed to push each other to get better? A capable and talented backup quarterback will be needed for that if Carr is indeed still “the man.”
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