Point to the myriad of reasons why the Raiders haven’t seriously invested in the backup quarterback position since Derek Carr entrenched himself as the starting quarterback all you want (tremendous needs elsewhere on the roster, the signal-caller ability to remain healthy; his command of the offense, borderline incompetent coaching, etc.).
But what it all boils down to is: The Carr coddling is costly to the Raiders.
Not since he was drafted by the Raiders in the second round of the 2014 draft has Carr faced legitimate competition for the Raiders quarterback gig. And when it comes to that competition, the word â€œlegitimate” is used very loosely.
Matt Schaub was signed off the scrap heap in hopes of getting one more year out of the veteran as the starter, but it became abundantly clear in camp and preseason tilts, Carr’s zip on his crisp throws were exponentially better than the lame duck spirals the older signal- caller was dishing out. Hence, the former’s Bulldogs quarterback won the starting gig outright his rookie year.
Since then, the likes of Matt McGloin, Connor Cook, EJ Manuel, AJ McCarron, Mike Glennon, DeShone Kizer and Nathan Peterman have occupied the quarterback room along with No. 4. That’s not a very inspiring list in terms of competition, is it? That’s a group more rescinded to competing for clipboard duties, who is in street clothes and who is running scout team rather than vying for the starting gig. Quality backups that group is not.
Carr has been a relative ironman playing in 94 games and starting all of them. He’s missed time due to injury but nothing the likes of Carson Wentz, for example. And thus, availability isn’t a massive concern.
The concern lies with the Raiders inability to add quality talent in the quarterback room that makes Carr at least raise an eyebrow regarding job security. The lack of attention at the spot — much like the team’s ignorance when it comes to the linebacker position — hurts the team overall because there’s no heat at Carr’s feet. It creates an aura of complacency — false or not — due to having no authentic challenger. It’s gotten to the point where Raider Nation is complacent and rescinded to the notion â€œThere are no better options, so let’s stick with Carr.” Surely, there are no better options if one doesn’t look for one. The team appear Bird Box blind when it comes to landing a legit player to compete with Carr.
While pushing yourself solo to your limits can be done, improvement often becomes exponential when you’ve got someone there nipping at your heels forcing you to better yourself every step of the way. That hasn’t happened for the Raiders or Carr and that must change this offseason as the team embarks on its inaugural year in Las Vegas.
Whether you like it or not, Carr is strongly likely the starter in Vegas Year 1, despite Raiders boss Jon Gruden’s troll waffling when asked if No. 4 is indeed his man.
“He played good,” Gruden told the media. “I’m not going to get into all the next-year scenarios. I’m just going to say that 7-9 is a step forward. We took a step forward. Statistically, I think we took a step forward. We’ve got to get a lot of guys healthy and we’ve got a lot of things to look at and evaluate before we start making any assumptions.”
That said, adding a valid challenger is vital to not only Carr’s continued growth but the succession plan required of an NFL team to go from one starter to the next.
First, let’s tackle the former of that statement. This offseason may be an intriguing one as teams may left former starters walk and hit free agency. If the Raiders were to sign an accomplished veteran, that may result in a quarterback competition, one that hasn’t occurred in Raiders Land since 2014.
Secondly, the latter of the statement earlier. A veteran may not be the best course for succession plan as said signal-caller would be older than Carr. That means spending moderately high draft capital on a prospect.
Surely you’ve become agitated and are spewing venom about the severe holes across the Raiders roster. While true, the gaping abyss known as backup QB is a festering bed sore the team must remedy — immediately.
A high- to mid-round rookie in the QB room adds a young developmental type may become the eventual successor to DC4. â€œMay” because essentially the draft is a crapshoot, even if you’re picking in the top five. But the Raiders are about to call Sin City home. It’s the place where people come to roll the dice at an insane rate.
It’s high time for Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock to step up to the table, pick up the dice, blow on them and roll ’em.
The prudent thing to do is add some serious competition to the quarterback room. Gruden and Mayock are flush with cap space and draft picks this offseason. There’s no excuse.
The Carr coddling needs to end — yesterday.
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