Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr rolls into 2020 as the starting signal caller. Likewise, Marcus Mariota is slated to be second on the depth chart. Knowing that, should the Silver and Black have signed Jameis Winston as Carr’s backup?
The last time the Raiders were in the playoffs was 2016 and that postseason trip was derailed by a devastating injury. After losing Carr right before the postseason began, the Raiders were easily ousted by the Houston Texans. That was due in part to not having a reliable backup quarterback in place. If the Raiders had added Winston this offseason, who recently signed with the New Orleans Saints, they would’ve had a quarterback who still has tons of upside. Throwing for 121 touchdowns in the NFL over the span of five seasons is no small feat.
Those Pesky Interceptions
The talent is there and so is the arm strength, be that as it may, there’s one huge concern when it comes to Winston. His interception total would probably drive Raiders head coach Jon Gruden crazy. The mechanical aspect of being turnover prone is something that can be alleviated by a good coach and their offensive scheme. Winston’s astronomical interception total was an eye-popping 30, more than double from 2018.
A Change of Scenery
As mentioned before, Gruden’s offense could have helped Winston bring those numbers down if, God forbid, Carr went down. The monstrous offensive line and their power running style that gave Carr all kinds of protection would’ve helped too. An interesting note to look at was how much Winston was blitzed in 2019. In total, the signal-caller was on the end of a whopping total of 241 blitzes, getting hit 54 times on top of it. Carr, by comparison, saw blitzes his way only 107 times and was hit just 17 times. Carr had one of his best seasons thanks to excellent protection, while Winston had one of his worst due to being swarmed by defenses.
In a scenario where Carr gets hurt and you have to plug Winston, the former number one pick would be protected by Josh Jacobs and the running game, as well as a safety blanket in Darren Waller. Say what you will about Winston’s mistakes, there’s one category that should have Raiders fans thinking he would’ve been a nice addition. Carr had a total of 28 throwaways in 2019. On the other hand, Winston, wait for it, only threw 22 away.
Raiders: What Might’ve Been
It’s imperative people understand Winston wouldn’t have signed to be the starting quarterback. Rather, given Winston’s arm strength, natural talent, size, and age, he would’ve been a much more intriguing backup. One thing’s for certain, Winston definitely has the arm strength to get the ball downfield to the likes of Henry Ruggs III. If you’re not convinced, look at the career average for percentage of touchdowns thrown when attempting a pass. Winston’s stands at 4.7, Carr’s at 4.3. That’s a much closer quarterback battle than would’ve met the eye.
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*Top Photo: Chris O’Meara/Associated Press