Rich Gannon on Jarrett Stidham

Saturday’s Contest Against The Chiefs Is Stidham’s Audition For 2023

Jarrett Stidham surprised the majority of the NFL in Week 18 against the San Francisco 49ers. The Las Vegas Raiders quarterback threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. That came against the best defense in the league, no less. The initial reaction by Raiders fans was swift. There’s a part of the fanbase that believes Stidham could be the starting quarterback in 2023.

So where does that leave the quarterback position for the Raiders? There are differing opinions right now, if we’re being honest. Should Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler trade up in the draft for a rookie or seek a veteran free agent in the offseason?

Regardless of which direction the Raiders’ front office goes, Stidham needs to put forth another strong effort. This time, it would be against one of the Raiders’ most heated rivals on Saturday, the Kansas City Chiefs. One of the things Raiders fans enjoy the most is beating the Chiefs, and in the Derek Carr era, that only happened three times. The last time the Raiders beat the Chiefs was in an empty Arrowhead/Geha Stadium in 2020.

Here come the Chiefs… 

When the Raiders first met up with the Chiefs in 2022, they had a 10-point lead at halftime. That was until Patrick Mahomes scored 20 points in the second half. Afterward, the Raiders just barely put up nine before time expired. They would end up losing 29–30. If Stidham can notch his first win as the quarterback of the Raiders against the Chiefs, he will greatly increase his odds of being a starter either in Las Vegas or elsewhere.

The Chiefs have the advantage of a week to prepare for Stidham, while the 49ers and head coach Kyle Shanahan were clearly not expecting to play against a quarterback that would extend plays the way Stidham did. Chiefs’ defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo seems to favor the strategy of blitzing younger quarterbacks to increase the pressure while also increasing the likelihood of throwing an errant pass. Stidham did well avoiding pressure against the 49ers, and the offensive line stepped up, not allowing a single sack. Stidham will truly be in the spotlight to see if he can end the Chiefs’ regular season with a loss.

For many teams in the league, the Week 18 contests do not mean much, but with 2022 being such a unique season, this weekend means something for essentially every team besides those already mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. While the Raiders have no shot at the postseason, the Chiefs are fighting for seeding in the AFC. In fact, they’ll be putting all of their best playmakers on the field on Saturday.

Will Jarrett Stidham be QB1 in 2023 for the Raiders?

There is zero chance Derek Carr suits up for the Raiders in 2023; even if he is asked to remain on the roster, it is a popular opinion that he would refuse based on his treatment over the last couple weeks. The relationship is fractured, and the Raiders will need a new quarterback in 2023. Jarrett Stidham may not see the field beyond this Saturday, but impressing his coaches, his front office, and his fans can all be accomplished if he comes out with a win.

Carr Or No Carr, Raiders TE Darren Waller Bouncing Back Nicely

*Top Photo: AP Photo/David Dermer

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