As good as Marcus Mariota once was, nobody could’ve foreseen him coming into the game for the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday and almost leading them to a victory. He was undeniably impressive, especially considering he hadn’t played in a game all season and didn’t have much of an offseason. Jon Gruden was very impressed with the performance from the quarterback.
I’m not going to be able to answer all those questions. Derek’s health will be determined here in a couple days, but what Marcus did last night was spectacular. We felt that the No. 1 thing we had to do with Marcus was get him healthy again. That’s what hurt him in Tennessee, and obviously his ankle looked healthy last night. His shoulder looked healthy. He came to training camp and he hurt his pec, so we kept him on ice and we kept him in the rehab until he was healthy, and then we put him back out there as the No. 2 quarterback. When this kid is healthy, this guy is a special playmaker and I think he proved it last night.
Mariota has battled a lot of injuries throughout his career and this the first time in a while he has had the time to get his body right. It showed in Thursday’s game as he was running all over the field and making plays.
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Will Mariota Be Taking Over QB Duties for Remainder of Season?
Little has been made known about how serious Derek Carr’s injury is but it has been described as “significant.” With only two games left on the schedule, that doesn’t give him a lot of time to recover. The playoffs are essentially out of reach so the Raiders should play it safe.
If the expectation is to have Carr be the quarterback next season, there’s no reason to risk any long-term damage. They’re paying Mariota a big chunk of change for scenarios like this. He proved that he was capable of leading this offense and the Raiders would be wise to evaluate him as much as possible before the season ends. Unless Carr makes a quick recovery, the Raiders should be Mariota’s team for the rest of the season.
A New Dynamic to the Offense
While Mariota did impress in his Raiders debut, there’s no doubt that Carr is the better thrower of the football. He’s got the bigger arm and is much more accurate. However, Mariota is a serious playmaker. His arm is good enough to make big plays down the field but what’s really impressive is how well he runs the ball. He rushed for 88 yards on Thursday on just nine carries.
If he’s going to be leading the offense the rest of the way, Gruden is probably going to call the game very differently. Carr is athletic but he’s not as dynamic as Mariota when it comes to running the ball. While that won’t necessarily make the offense better, it does give Gruden the ability to switch things up.