There is no argument that Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is playing some of his best football, statistically, however as the great Bill Belichick said, “Stats are for losers. Final scores are for winners.” For the 2021 season to head in a positive direction, there may need to be a change at quarterback.
The Raiders stand at 5-4 heading into Week 11, and fans of the Silver and Black are less than ecstatic with the direction the team is heading in. Coming off back-to-back losses to the New York Giants and the rival Kansas City Chiefs, the discussions are taking off in all different directions.
One debate that has resurfaced is whether Derek Carr should give up snaps or be benched entirely in favor of backup Marcus Mariota. Carr has thrown 15 touchdowns with eight interceptions and currently stands at fourth in the league in passing yards with 2,826 yards, first in 27 big-time throws, and has an 81.9 passing grade.
It’s Not Enough From Carr…
Carr is operating at a high level and showed impressive drives early in the season against the Ravens, Steelers, and Dolphins, to name a few. However, recent losses to other teams (Bears and Giants) that should not have happened are wearing thin on the fan base’s opinion of the quarterback. Carr has unfortunately begun to set a pattern for the mid-season dive bombs with the Raiders, and this season is falling in line with that tradition. A loss against the Cincinnati Bengals this week may prove that claim true as well.
No one is doubting Carr’s leadership or the way he has handled recent issues surrounding the team. Mainly with the arrest and release of wide receiver Henry Ruggs III, the resignation of Jon Gruden, and the release of cornerback Damon Arnette (most were unresponsive to that one). While fans of the Vegas Raiders do not have much insight into the leadership abilities of Mariota, they have seen him in action, and it’s hard to argue he brings an element to the field that Carr does not.
What Can Mariota Bring To The Table?
Before sustaining an injury, Mariota participated in a single play in the first game of the season against the Baltimore Ravens. That one play, however, was an explosive 31-yard run. Carr has completed runs of that distance himself (Cowboys 2017), but it’s ingrained into Mariota’s style of play that Carr cannot replicate as frequently or as effectively.
Fans and analysts alike were thrilled when Mariota came in for the injured Carr (no one was thrilled with the injury) against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 15 of the 2020 season. Mariota quickly used his legs and his arms to throw for 226 yards, including a beautifully thrown back-shoulder fade touchdown to Darren Waller, rushed for 88 yards, and threw one interception. While it was not a perfect stat line, the Chargers were not prepared for the tools Mariota brought with him and effectively kept the Raiders in the game.
If Not The Starter, Get The Ball To Mariota ASAP…
Mariota brings a different element to the Raiders’ offense, and if he isn’t to replace Carr, there have to be more designed runs for Mariota. The Raiders have one of the most expensive backup quarterbacks sitting on the bench when he should be utilized in a Taysom Hill-type role similar to the New Orleans Saints offensive strategy. While the best ability is availability, and Mariota is no stranger to the trainers’ tent, a healthy Mariota is a weapon the Raiders need to deploy now to keep the season from plummeting.
*Top Photo: AP Photo/Jeff Bottari