“Everything we do in this building is going to be about the development of Derek Carr,” said new Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson. “The way we script practices, the way we are doing drills, everything that we do is all about the development of the quarterback.”
Jon Gruden’s clique seems fixated on fixing the Carr.
That is outstanding.
Nevertheless, what about Carr’s backup?
Those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. In addition, the Raiders can ill-afford question marks on the quarterback depth chart.
As it stands, Connor Cook is the lone QB behind Carr. The third-year man was rendered inactive this past season as flier-signing and first-round bust E.J. Manuel displaced him as Carr’s backup. Therefore, he is still very much an unknown commodity.
While it is not a supreme priority, the Raiders must identify and/or acquire and develop a suitable backup. Carr has missed games and the Raiders cannot have another Grand Canyonesque drop off in quality from No. 1 to No. 2. The time for fliers must end. There needs to be legitimacy to the position.
Here is a glance at what the Raiders options:
- Cook. Gruden gushed about the former Michigan State Spartan during the draft process. Impressed with his aggressiveness, arm talent, and intelligence, is Chucky’s staff the group that gets the most out of the fourth round pick?
- Others: Manuel. Although, his biggest supporter — former OC Todd Downing — is now with the Minnesota Vikings.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick. The 35-year-old journeyman fits the bill as experienced veteran. While he does not have a live arm compared to Carr and Cook, he has the moxie and smarts (admit it, you thought a little about Matt McGloin when you read that) to fit Gruden’s offense.
- Others: Matt Moore; Blaine Gabbert; Josh Johnson.
- Nic Shimonek: The Texas Tech QB has the requisite size (6-foot-3, 225 pounds) arm talent and intangibles that will draw Gruden’s eyes. He goes through progressions when given time and can deliver using a wide array of angles (Rich Gannon, anyone?). He can throw on the run, but often will take off rather than slide around in the pocket.
- Others: Tanner Lee (Nebraska); Kurt Benkert (Virginia); Quinton Flowers (South Florida).
- Johnny Manziel Ok, I know I condemned the flier signing earlier. However, here is one that is a no-risk. If there is a coach who can shudder the baggage that comes with Johnny Football, it is Gruden. No one is going to cast a shadow larger than Chucky in Oakland.
Not Carr, not even Khalil Mack. Manziel will not even get a chance to be “disruptive”. Moreover, if he does, he will be sent packing so fast, you will hardly even Notice Manziel suited up for the Raiders.
Regardless of how the Raiders proceed, the No. 2 and 3 quarterbacks need to be more invested than the coaching staff building them up as the backups. That means rigorous attention to detail, eager snap participation — even if it is scout team — and voicing their opinions. Be present, be involved.