Ever since the Las Vegas Raiders signed Marcus Mariota, there’s been talk about them using him as a weapon in certain packages. Injuries mostly derailed his first year with the team so we didn’t get a chance to see him on the field with Derek Carr. He got healthier this offseason and the Raiders got him on the field on the first drive of Monday’s game versus the Baltimore Ravens.
He took the snap and ran for 31 yards before getting taken down. It was an unexpected play call for the typically conservative Jon Gruden but it worked out really well. However, the Raiders didn’t use Mariota again throughout the entire game. It was a bit confusing but Gruden revealed later that the quarterback had reaggravated a quad injury that he suffered in the offseason. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the injury will keep him out for “multiple weeks.”
That’s disappointing news for the Raiders as it looked like the team was primed to utilize his unique skillset. Carr is a pretty athletic quarterback but Mariota is one of the fastest quarterbacks in the NFL.
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It Would Be Nice to Have Mariota, but Raiders Should Be Fine
When Mariota took the field for the Raiders on Monday, it was an exciting development. Gruden has been accused of not being very creative with his playcalling but this decision showed the ability to think outside the box and it worked wonderfully. A dynamic player like Mariota should be utilized if he’s healthy.
While he gave the Raiders offense a nice winkle, the offense will be fine without him. The team scored 33 points on drives after Mariota went down so it’s clear the offense can move the ball. He only played in one game last season and the team finished 10th in the NFL in scoring. The offense isn’t the problem for the Raiders. The team will live and die depending on how the defense plays.
Will Raiders Sign a QB While Mariota Gets Healthy?
Rapoport said that Mariota could miss multiple weeks, which isn’t very clear. He could be out two weeks or 10 weeks. If the Raiders don’t put him on injured reserve soon, that likely means he’ll be back soon. If he does get put on injured reserve, the team will be in the market for a quarterback.
DeShone Kizer would make the most sense for the Raiders to bring in. He’s the player they brought in last season when Mariota was placed on injured reserve. He spent the entire 2019 season with the team and will have more familiarity with the offense than any other quarterback currently in free agency. The Raiders could also look at Kyle Sloter or Case Cookus, who both spent time with the team this offseason. None of these quarterbacks are the athlete that Mariota is but the Raiders aren’t likely to run any special packages without him around.