Raiders: Why Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota should both be given a chance

Raiders (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Raiders (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

The Las Vegas Raiders recently agreed to a contract with quarterback Marcus Mariota. And both he and Derek Carr deserve a chance to win the starting job.

The Las Vegas Raiders made a major splash during the NFL free agency period. The team has completely revamped a porous defense by adding a number of solid players to their roster.

However, the team has been notably quiet on the offensive side of the ball.

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This is not a complaint. The team has invested their cap space wisely and filled several pressing needs. However, the team still has one major question mark remaining — the quarterback position.

Once thought to be serious contenders for Tom Brady the franchise must now re-calibrate. The Raiders did agree to a contract with former Tennessee Titans’ signal-caller Marcus Mariota in a move that adds depth behind incumbent starter Derek Carr.

Most fans seem to be expecting the former No. 2 overall pick to be a big-name backup. However, head coach Jon Gruden would be wise to keep all his options open at the quarterback position.

Here’s why both players should be given a fair chance to earn the starting job:

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The Numbers

Neither Carr nor Mariota seems likely to set the world on fire. Both players hold a below-average career win percentage (Carr: 39-55; Mariota 29-32) and neither has managed to lead their team to consistent success.

Carr holds a distinct advantage in many of the counting stats.

He has averaged 23.8 touchdowns and 10.3 interceptions per season to go along with 22,793 career passing yards. Mariota on the other hand, checks in with averages of 15.2 touchdowns, 8.8 interceptions, and 13,207 career yards.

While Carr’s numbers are benefited by the fact that he has stared 33 more career starts than Mariota, it is worth noting that the former Oregon Ducks’ star was benched by the Tennessee Titans last season.

That being said, Mariota offers a rushing skillset (1,399 yards) that is non-existent with his counterpart (175 yards for Carr).

Edge: Carr

The Fit

This is where a potential competition could get interesting. Carr has seemingly adapted to Gruden’s offense as well as could have been expected. However, there is still obvious room for improvement.

Mariota’s skill set would be a great fit in the team’s West Coast scheme.

While the former Titans quarterback has always struggled to pass the ball deep, he has proven to be quite accurate as a short and intermediate passer. His added mobility would add an entirely new wrinkle to the system.

Mariota (26) is also more than two years younger than Carr (28). While it is possible that the team chooses to punt on both players in search of a top rookie option, Mariota could be a better fit in the long term.

If Gruden and Mike Mayock did feel good about the prospects of starting their newly acquired weapon, it would open the door for a potential Carr trade. This could provide quite a lucrative return.

Edge: Mariota

The Advantage

All things considered, Carr figures to be the best option. While Mariota has had momentary flashes of the greatness that made him the second overall draft pick in 2015, he has been a bust thus far in his career.

There is a reason he was benched in favor of Ryan Tannehill last season. The quarterback has had injury concerns and major issues with consistency.

It would take a significant push by Mariota to seriously challenge for the starting job. While this is a long shot, it is certainly within the realm of possibility.

Barring a return to the normal NFL schedule, both players will have the benefit of training camp and preseason games to showcase their skills. If Carr shows any concerning signs, there is no reason to believe that Mariota can’t take over as the new signal-caller.

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Give both players a fair chance and award the best man with the job.