Oakland Raiders: A Few Things Worth Keeping An Eye On Against The Rams

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 12: Offensive tackle Jylan Ware
GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 12: Offensive tackle Jylan Ware /
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Oakland Raiders
GLENDALE, AZ – AUGUST 12: Quarterback EJ Manuel /

The Race For Number Two

Given the fact that GM Reggie McKenzie made the unusual – for him – move of trading up in the Draft to nab Connor Cook last year, you would think that he’d have a pretty solid lock on the backup job. Or at least, by year two, be showing a more confident grasp of the system.

So far, that hasn’t been the case.

You can – and should – make the argument that as a rookie last season, Cook got thrown to the wolves after Carr’s injury and Matt McGloin proved to be ineffective. Under the weight of starting the team’s first playoff game in nearly 15 years, Cook crumbled and stumbled to a three interception performance in Oakland’s loss to Houston in the Wild Card game.

But after letting McGloin walk, McKenzie brought in former Bills first round pick E.J. Manuel to ostensibly be a camp arm and likely the team’s third quarterback. And given the fact that Oakland had to use three quarterbacks last season, it seems likely that they’ll carry three again this year.

And then the funniest thing happened – the supposed camp arm has been outplaying the fourth-round pick who many thought had first-round talent. Badly. The competition between Manuel and Cook hasn’t really been close throughout camp.

Oh, it’s been noted that Cook has taken some strides this week and has maybe narrowed that gap between he and Manuel a bit over the last week of camp, but unless something extraordinary happens over the next three exhibition games, it’s looking like Manuel is going to be Carr’s direct understudy instead of Cook.

But – this is the exhibition season and it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Cook could catch fire and leapfrog over Manuel in the pecking order.