Our Position Battle series starts off this week with the men under center, the quarterbacks.
As expected, Derek Carr will be the Oakland Raiders starting quarterback for Year 6 of his tenure in Silver and Black, but once again, he will see some new faces in the quarterbacks' room as AJ McCarron is out, and Mike Glennon and Nathan Peterman are in.
(Yes, Peterman technically joined the team in mid-December last year, but he was only in the building a few weeks before the team wrapped up the regular season)
That said, let's take a look at the trio of Raiders QBs currently on the roster, and who will be battling it out for a roster spot in Napa.
Battle to watch:
EP: It might not be the sexiest battle, but it has to be throw down between Mike Glennon and Nathan Peterman to be QB2.
I'm a huge advocate of the backup quarterback; while they might fly under the radar for much of the season, they fill a vital role on the roster, and are just a play away from having to be "the dude" for an extended period of time.
Carr has shown year after year that he's one of the more durable signal callers in the NFL – he's missed just two games in the past three seasons – but even so, his backup last year A.J. McCarron made two appearances in relief.
While Mike Glennon certainly has more experience than Peterman – 22 starts compared to just four for young Mr. Peterman – the former Buffalo Bill was brought in for a reason towards the tail end of 2018, and I expect he'll be given every chance to compete throughout the month in Napa.
KM: My thoughts on this position battle have changed within the last few weeks. Originally, when the team signed Landry Jones and Mike Glennon I thought that was the easy choice; however, the team released Jones a month ago, which eliminated that potential battle.
Derek Carr has the position locked up, but that doesn't mean that Glennon can't push him to be a little better. This will be Glennon's seventh season in the league, and his knowledge of playbooks should allow him to test Carr's understanding of Gruden's system, despite being in it for one year already. The former Fresno State quarterback is expected to make strides this season; with the additions of Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, and a new tackle in Trent Brown, Carr has all the tools to command the pocket and make big plays down field.
It won't be a battle between these two, but hopefully Glennon can test Carr mentally and help him feel more comfortable when reading defensive formations.
Storyline to follow:
EP: For me, the storyline for this group during training camp – and really throughout the 2019 season – is going to be how Derek Carr looks in Year 2 of Coach Gruden's offensive system.
Look, there's no questioning the raw, athletic ability that DC has – he's shown it time and time again – but I'm really excited to see just how much more in charge he is of everything at the line of scrimmage.
Throughout the first five years of Carr's career, the former Fresno State Bulldog hasn't had the luxury of consistency – really at all – but with Gruden and his staff not going anywhere, that won't be the case anymore for No. 4.
That said, the first – and only – time that Carr had a little bit of consistency in terms of his offensive scheme was 2016, his second year with then-offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, that resulted in Carr throwing for 28 touchdowns, just six interceptions and a spot squarely in the MVP race until, well, December 24.
Do I think that DC will have a strong 2019? Absolutely I do; I'm just excited to watch him grow throughout the year – particularly throughout camp.
KM: As Eddie pointed out, the clear choice is how Carr handles his second season with Gruden.
Gruden said when he returned as the Raiders Head Coach that he wanted to give DC the keys to the car – no pun intended – and after a year of getting familiar with one another it'll be interesting to see how No. 4 performs. The Raiders were 4-12 last year; offensively and defensively the team knew it needed to get better in 2019, and with several talented players joining the fold, there's no more excuses.
It's time to go to work.
Keep an eye on…
EP: I alluded to it a bit earlier, but I'm really going to have a watchful eye on Derek Carr to see just how much better he is in 2019.
Now Carr certainly had moments of brilliance in his first season with Jon Gruden, but as mentioned, Year 2 in any system typically results in a greater understanding of all the idiosyncrasies of an offense.
Oh, and let's not forget that Carr will have the benefit of one Antonio Brown at his disposal too.
2019 could be a fun season for the Raiders offense, and it all starts during training camp.
KM: Keep an eye on the waiver wire.
Even though Carr is the secured QB1 and Glennon seems to be his backup for the 2019 season, there's always the possibility that Gruden and General Manager Mike Mayock bring in another body to compete during training camp and the preseason.
Yes, I'm aware that Nathan Peterman is in the mix, but that didn't stop the team from rostering four quarterbacks a month ago. The third preseason game is the proverbial game when starting players get the most run, which means weeks 1, 2, and 4 could feature some extended run for Glennon, Peterman, and possibly a player to be named later.
Question you want answered by the end of training camp:
EP: This is a simple one for me – has either Mike Glennon or Nathan Peterman done enough to show that they're a legitimate No. 2 option behind Derek Carr?
KM: The question I'd like answered by the end of camp is simply how DC feels health-wise before the start of the season. Three years ago, he broke his leg. Two years ago, he fractured his back. Last year, he was sacked 51 times – the most of his career. Entering his sixth season in the league, I'd like to make sure that Carr feels 100 percent, and is prepared for what lies ahead.
Aside from that, I just want to watch him sling the rock.
Previewing the Oakland Raiders quarterbacks heading into 2019 Training Camp. The group is featured by Derek Carr with newcomers Mike Glennon and Nate Peterman.