Jarrett Stidham had an audition to become the starter for the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday afternoon against the Kansas City Chiefs. To put it mildly, he failed the audition. Still, there were still some positives to his individual performance. In all honesty, the Raiders might have found their QB2 for next year. That’s assuming that general manager Dave Ziegler brings in a certain big name.
How did Jarrett Stidham do in his second start for the Raiders?
Stidham finished the 13-31 loss with a stat line of 22 completions on 36 attempts for 219 passing yards and one touchdown. Not bad, but then you tack on one interception and two fumbles. The Raiders’ offensive line struggled to contain Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones and Co., and as a result, they sacked him six times and hit him fourteen times.
Stidham, who evaded pressure well against the San Francisco 49ers the previous week, struggled against the Chiefs. In turn, he threw several errant passes. No. 3 showed his toughness after being knocked down a total of 20 times; however, he was careless with the football. One of Stidham’s two fumbles was recovered by the Chiefs, and his lone interception was tossed into double coverage when targeting Mack Hollins.
The numbers don’t lie…
Over his two starts, Stidham completed 45 passes out of 70 attempts (64% completion percentage) with four touchdowns. Even so, turnovers and ball security have been issues. He recorded three interceptions and three fumbles. It doesn’t help Stidham’s case that the quarterback he replaced, Derek Carr, had four fumbles total in the fifteen games he played in 2022.
The reason the Chiefs’ game was important to Stidham’s evaluation was that the Chiefs had a week to prepare for Stidham. In other words, a better-prepared opposing team will show you what your quarterback can really do. Also, you factor in that the Chiefs have recent tape to study. That leads to a better game plan, obviously. That was a luxury the 49ers did not have in Week 17. Stidham was expected to score a high number of points considering he scored 34 against the best defense in the league the week prior. The Chiefs defense allows an average of 21.7 points to opposing teams; therefore, 13 points with a single touchdown was a huge disappointment.
Stidham can win (some) games for the Raiders
Can Stidham win games for the Raiders? Absolutely. Can he take the Raiders to the next level, where they can win the AFC West and beyond? Doubtful. Stidham has strengths that benefit the team, such as his rushing ability, his toughness, and his clear knowledge of the offense. Stidham, however, has issues with his vision, accuracy, and recklessness when it comes to protecting the football. The best course of action in this scenario is to keep Stidham on as the Raiders’ backup but draft a rookie who can gradually learn the offense. Stidham will be one of the top-rated backup quarterbacks in the league next season. However, more is needed. Especially in a division this competitive, the Raiders need an above-average quarterback to even have a chance.
*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images