It recently became known that the Las Vegas Raiders will be playing Week 1 of the NFL season a little bit thin at quarterback. Backup Marcus Mariota was put on the injured reserve and will at least be out for three weeks. That leaves just Derek Carr and Nathan Peterman on the active roster.
The team did sign DeShone Kizer to the practice squad, but it’s not looking like he’ll get promoted anytime soon. Carr is as durable as they come and has only missed two games in six years. That allows the Raiders to be a little bit risky and keep only two quarterbacks on the active roster.
However, if Mariota’s injury takes longer to heal, the team might want to bring in a backup with more starting experience than Peterman. Brad Gagnon of Bleacher Report believes that former number three overall draft pick Blake Bortles is a top free-agent fit for the Raiders:
You don’t really want Blake Bortles out there, either, but he has a respectable 103-to-75 career touchdown-to-interception ratio, and he’s won 24 games as an NFL starter. If Peterman, Ryan Finley and Matt Barkley are worthy of roster spots in this league, so is Bortles.
The Raiders shouldn’t wait, because his phone might be the first to ring if another starter gets hurt. And while they recently signed DeShone Kizer to the practice squad, his career numbers are nearly as bad as Peterman’s.
Signing Bortles Could Be Smart
As Gagnon pointed out, Peterman and Kizer have horrific career numbers. Bortles isn’t exactly an acclaimed quarterback but he did lead a team to the Conference Championship game before and almost won. Now, he’s not great as a starter but would be a good backup option.
He throws a lot of interceptions but can also throw for a lot of touchdowns. He’s kind of like a poor man’s Jameis Winston. Bortles actually has better career numbers than Mariota. It’s not ideal to have the highest-paid backup quarterback in the NFL on your injured reserve but if he’s out for longer than expected, Bortles would be a strong backup to Carr.
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Peterman Is an Unknown Quantity at This Point
The fact that the Raiders haven’t tried to make a move at backup quarterback bodes well for Peterman. The last time we saw him on the field during a regular-season game was early in the 2018 season with the Buffalo Bills. In four games, he threw one touchdown and seven interceptions.
He came to the Raiders last offseason due to Jon Gruden’s fascination with him. Peterman did look good in his preseason games with the team but that doesn’t mean he’s ready for regular-season action. It’s a big risk having him serve as a backup. He’s very prone to turning the ball over. He’s thrown 12 interceptions in eight career games, only four of which were starts. That said, Gruden has worked magic on quarterbacks before. Perhaps he’s helped turn things around for Peterman. Without a preseason this year, it’s hard to know for sure how he’s progressed.