There’s been a ton of focus on Derek Carr’s future following the news that he got benched this week. However, the Las Vegas Raiders still have two games to play and the NFL season isn’t going to pause for them. Jarrett Stidham was named as Carr’s replacement in the starting lineup and he’s about to make his first NFL regular season start against the No. 1 defense in the league.
Stidham has been around the NFL for a while. He was a fourth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. He’s also spent every year of his career in Josh McDaniels‘ offense. There aren’t many quarterbacks in the NFL who will have as much knowledge about the system. He may not be as physically gifted or as experienced as Carr but there’s no doubt he knows the offense better.
It’s not ideal for him to get his first start against an incredible San Francisco 49ers defense but he’s going to relish the opportunity to start his first game. He finally had a chance to discuss getting his first start.
“To start a game in the NFL is a dream come true, but at the same time I’ve been preparing since my rookie year,” Stidham said Wednesday. “I’ve tried to prepare the same every single week whether I was the backup or the starter. Obviously, I’ve gotten to learn under a bunch of really good guys, players coaches. So I’ve always tried to treat the weeks the same. It’s no different this week.”
What to Expect From Stidham
There’s not a lot of game tape from Stidham since he entered the NFL. He’s had a few impressive preseason showings but he was going against backups in those games. Granted, he was also playing with backups. In four preseason games with the Raiders this year, he threw for 316 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions.
Throughout his four years in the league, he’s had the chance to play in 11 games. He’s thrown for 342 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. There’s not a lot to go off of but he did show solid arm strength at accuracy at Auburn. He has the ability to make many of the throws the Raiders would need him to. It’s just a matter of if he can do it against NFL defenses. McDaniels clearly is a fan of his, which is why he traded for him in the offseason. He believes the quarterback will be ready to play.
“He’s prepared like he’s playing every week since he’s been in the NFL,” McDaniels said Wednesday. “Giving him a full week of seeing how this affects his preparation, his practice, his performance on Sunday, I think is a good starting point for him. But I expect him to be ready to go like he’s always been.”
Kyle Shanahan Talks Going Against Stidham Instead of Carr
The 49ers might be the hottest team in the NFL and is in the midst of an eight-game winning streak. Even with Carr, the Raiders would be big underdogs on Sunday. Now that Stidham is playing, it’s hard to imagine Las Vegas keeps it competitive for long. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan believes Stidham does have talent but thinks they’ll be able to keep him confused due to his lack of experience.
“He can make every throw similar to Carr,” Shanahan said, via CBS News. “But he hasn’t been out there a lot, so hopefully we’ll confuse him (and) make it tough for him.”