Today, it’s all about the quarterbacks.
It’s no secret that quarterback is the hardest position to find and solidify in the NFL, but luckily for the Oakland Raiders, they’ve now locked up theirs long term, inking Derek Carr to a five-year extension in June.
After an offseason promotion, Jake Peetz is now the Silver and Black’s quarterbacks coach, and he’ll have a talented trio of signal callers to work with throughout the season.
While Carr is going to be *the guy *for the Raiders for hopefully a very long time, if last year taught us anything, it’s that depth is crucial. With that being said, let’s take a look at the three quarterbacks currently on the Raiders roster.
2016 Recap (357 Completions, 3,937 Yards, 28 Touchdowns, Six Interceptions, 39 Rushes, 70 Yards. Pro Bowl Selection)
The trajectory of the Silver and Black’s season changed on Christmas Eve after Carr suffered a broken fibula against the Indianapolis Colts.
Before the season-ending injury, No. 4 was a legitimate MVP candidate, and was arguably playing some of the best football of his young career.
In his stead, Matt McGloin, and then Connor Cook, were inserted into the fold, and while both performed admirably, it’s no secret that neither of them was Derek Carr.
Fast forward a few months, and Carr is thankfully healthy once again; he participated in the entirety of the team’s Offseason Workout Program, and we’ve been given every indication that he won’t be limited when the team reports to training camp in Napa.
Through his first three seasons in the NFL, Carr has established himself as one of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL, and as dynamic as the Silver and Black’s offense is poised to be, make no mistake, this team goes as far as No. 4 takes them in 2017.
2016 Recap (14 Completions, 150 Yards, One Touchdown, One Interception)
To take a positive stance on everything that happened after Carr’s season-ending injury, look at it this way; Connor Cook made history in 2016, becoming the first rookie in NFL history to make his first career start in the postseason.
While the team’s Wild Card bout against the Houston Texans didn’t go quite as planned – and Cook is certainly not to blame for that – having that type of experience less than a year after his professional career began is invaluable going forward.
Heading into 2017, Cook will once again find himself in the mix to back up Carr, but instead of battling with Matt McGloin, who has moved on to the Philadelphia Eagles, he’ll be squaring off against veteran quarterback EJ Manuel.
While Cook does have a year in the Raiders offensive system, Manuel will likely give the youngster a run for his money, and watching them go back and forth throughout the preseason will be a fun storyline to watch develop.
2016 Recap (WITH BUFFALO BILLS: 11 Completions, 131 Yards)
After four seasons in Buffalo, Manuel is getting a fresh start in Silver and Black in 2017, and not only will he be joining a new team, he’ll also be reuniting with a friendly face.
Todd Downing is set to start his first season as Offensive Coordinator, but in 2014 he was the quarterbacks coach for the Buffalo Bills, where he worked for the first time with Manuel.
Just taking a look at Manuel you’re made keenly aware that the man is an athlete. The former Florida State Seminole is 6’4” and 237 pounds, but if he wants to be the second quarterback on the depth chart, he’s going to have to show there’s more to him than just pure athleticism.
Although he’s just 27 years old, Manuel will act as the veteran presence in the Raiders quarterbacks room, and if nothing else, having a player with his experience in the league to bounce ideas off of will benefit the group as a whole.
Storyline To Follow:
Who is Derek Carr’s backup?
There likely isn’t a more important – or more scrutinized – position in all of sports than starting quarterback, but as vital as that role is to fill, it’s almost as important to have a capable backup.
That became apparent last year after Carr went down, and in two weeks, the Raiders were forced to start two different quarterbacks.
While Carr is the Raiders quarterback for today, tomorrow, and hopefully the rest of his career, the fact remains that he needs a competent backup just in case.
Cook or Manuel? Manuel or Cook?
We’ll find out in just a few short weeks.