The Las Vegas Raiders made a franchise-altering decision when they benched Derek Carr earlier in the season. He was the starter for nine seasons and signed a contract extension less than a year ago. Instead of him being the franchise quarterback, he’s almost certainly on his way out in the coming months.
Head coach Josh McDaniels is the one who announced the decision but it was one he had to make with approval from others. He worked closely with general manager Dave Ziegler before making a final decision. The first-year general manager has avoided discussing benching Carr for the past few weeks but finally had a chance to address it.
“It was a difficult decision, and there is emotion involved in that, but you also have to make tough decisions in this business, so an opportunity for us with two games to go, with where our record was at at the time, and to get an opportunity to get a look at two young quarterbacks in Jarrett [Stidham] and in Chase [Garbers],” Ziegler told Raiders media Friday.
Ziegler Talks Chase Garbers & Jarrett Stidham
Benching Carr wasn’t an easy call. At times, he has looked like a top-10 quarterback in the NFL. Quarterbacks that good aren’t easy to come by. However, there were times this season when he didn’t even look like a top-20 quarterback. It’s understandable why the new regime wasn’t impressed.
Jarrett Stidham came in for the final two weeks and made some plays but it’s clear that he’s not the long-term option as a starter going forward. Ziegler was just happy to get a look at Stidham and Chase Garbers at the end of the season.
“To have them kind of have to step up in role, and step up in responsibility, and step up in terms of the leadership aspect of the team, it’s really invaluable for us to get a true evaluation of everybody in that room at the most important position in football, to make sure we understood exactly what we have going forward, or questions on what we have, and make some decisions on how to solidify that room going forward, and this was an opportunity for us to do that,” he said.
Stidham may have been able to earn a look as a starter next season if he had a better game against the Kansas City Chiefs but his struggles solidified that the Raiders need to bring in another quarterback this offseason.
Ziegler Praises McDaniels
It wasn’t the debut season that Ziegler and McDaniels hoped for. They took a playoff team from 2021 and led them to a 6-11 record. Despite that, Ziegler is still confident in McDaniels and what they are building together.
“Just in general, caring about people,” Ziegler said of McDaniels. “I think the combination of those things, along with how competitive he is, that’s why you have players like Davante Adams, and Maxx Crosby, and Josh Jacobs, and you know, some guys who perform at a high level, that you can see that instant bond that they have with Josh, again, not only because of the competitive piece, but that there’s this compassionate side where he’s building relationships with people, and he’s creating buy-in that way.”