Derek Carr is firmly installed as the starting quarterback in Oakland, but the Raiders are not impressed with their current options behind him.
In true Jon Gruden fashion, there’s still a good deal of roster uncertainty in Oakland. Expect the Raiders to make at least one move to strengthen their quarterback room before the regular season arrives.
There are no questions about Derek Carr’s starting spot, but no one playing behind him as impressed the coaching staff. Gruden told reporters that the organization will “continue to see who is available” at the quarterback position prior to Week 1.
He obviously isn’t impressed with either EJ Manuel or Connor Cook. Manuel has struggled to protect the football during the preseason. He’s never been a pinpoint passer, but his fumble issues are a new problem. It’s possible he’s already made too many negative plays to convince Gruden he can be the team’s primary backup.
Cook hasn’t been much better. He showcased a big arm during his college career at Michigan State, but he’s never been accurate enough to really be effective at the pro level. His time to carve out a solid roster place in Oakland is clearly coming to an end.
The obvious question for Raiders fans is who they might be able to acquire. There is going to be a flurry of activity at the quarterback position when final cuts are made. Expect the number of teams carrying two active signal callers into week one to be higher than ever. That’s going to give Gruden and company a lot of options to choose from.
It’s fair to wonder whether or not this might be a landing spot for Colin Kaepernick. Gruden isn’t the sort of coach who would shy away from a player based on controversy. Instead, he’ll stay away from Kaepernick because he isn’t a great fit for his offensive scheme. Specifically, Gruden would prefer a more traditional quarterback to serve as Carr’s backup.
The most likely outcome in Oakland is to see Gruden move for a veteran that narrowly loses a battle to be a backup quarterback on another team. The loser of the DeShone Kizer/Brett Hundley battle in Green Bay should generate a lot of interest. It’s also possible that Austin Davis could be the answer if he doesn’t survive in Seattle.
Khalil Mack will continue to dominate the headlines in Oakland, but he coaching staff is very concerned about their quarterback room. Don’t be surprised if Gruden makes a big move to fix his depth at the crucial position in the next week or two.