There’s no indication the Las Vegas Raiders are planning on having a quarterback competition but that isn’t going to stop many people from suggesting Derek Carr’s job is on the line. For the first time in his career, Carr has a backup behind him with a lot of talent and a lot of starting experience in Marcus Mariota. That said, the former second overall pick struggled greatly in his last few years in Tennessee.
He now comes to Las Vegas with a chance to turn his career around and he’s already made a big impression on head coach Jon Gruden.
“He’s interesting. He took off a couple times today and really fired me up,” Gruden said of Mariota after Friday’s practice. “He’s been hurt. Looked like the ankle has really turned the corner. He’s a dazzling playmaker with his feet and that’s the key to his game. I saw glimpses of that today and it was exciting. Started off slow in 7-on-7 but picked it up and had a really nice day.”
Comments like that are sure to get the media fired up about a potential quarterback controversy. Mariota is a spectacular athlete, everybody knows that. However, he has not had success as a passer in the NFL since 2016. He’ll have to prove he can do more than just run if he’s going to unseat Carr.
Raiders Want Carr to Make More Plays With Legs
It’s no secret that the Raiders want Carr to make more plays with his legs. They worked on it a lot last year and are likely working on it more this year. He’s very athletic for a quarterback so there’s no reason he can’t make more happen outside the pocket.
“Hey, this play broke down now you’ve got to escape and get outside the pocket and create something for us or push forward and run,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said of Carr recently. “That’s been an emphasis. He sees it, he’s athletic enough that he can create with his legs, so we are just working on him to create more outside the pocket.”
The fact that Mariota can create outside the pocket is the one big advantage he has over Carr right now. If Carr can figure out that part of his game, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be losing his job this year.
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Carr Isn’t Worried About Losing Job
Even with the addition of Mariota, Carr doesn’t seem too worried about losing the starting gig.
“In our quarterback room, you have to compete and that’s what I do,” Carr told reporters Tuesday. “You can ask anybody, all I’m going to do is compete. I’ve had multiple starters come into this room and be in the same room as me. You can go through the list of who’s started games and who’s been in our quarterback room — it happens all the time. But when you go 7-9, people like to make up stuff.”
Carr has heard countless rumors over the last couple of years that the Raiders were planning to make a change at quarterback. With Mariota in town, those rumors are going to pop up a lot more frequently if he struggles. He needs to have a big year if he wants to get respected.