Coach Jon Gruden and General Manager Mike Mayock made it a point during free agency to upgrade the Las Vegas Raiders' quarterback depth. They accomplished that by adding former Tennessee Titans starter Marcus Mariota.
With Mariota, who's won a playoff game, behind Derek Carr, the Raiders can rest knowing they have another quarterback who has had success in this league.
Former longtime Dallas Cowboys vice president Gil Brandt ranked the duo as one of the five most desirable quarterback situations in 2020.
Looking at the presence that Mariota provides, Brandt said: "For the first time since the Raiders drafted him 36th overall in 2014, Derek Carr has to look over his shoulder at a potential replacement."
Brandt is speaking from a national perspective because if he were in Las Vegas, he would know there is no controversy. The Las Vegas Raiders are Derek Carr's team.
Brandt said, though, that this wouldn't be a bad thing "if it helps Carr elevate his game." Like many other critics, Brandt points out how Carr has seemingly not been the same since his stellar 2016 season.
He points out that offensive coordinator Greg Olson has encouraged Carr to be more creative when plays break down. The addition of Henry Ruggs III will open up opportunities for Carr to take more chances downfield.
If Mariota were to get a chance should Carr get injured, Brandt thinks that he could be rebuilt with the Raiders. He points out how Gruden had previously helped quarterbacks Rich Gannon and Brad Johnson rediscover their confidence, and he thinks he could do the same with Mariota.
Now obviously, this all hinges on if Carr gets injured this season. Yes, there is pressure on him to lead the Raiders back to the playoffs, but there is no quarterback controversy. The 2020 Las Vegas Raiders are Derek Carr's team, but Marcus Mariota is a great asset backing him up.
Combined with the motivation from seeing critics continually doubt his play and the deepest supporting cast of his career, Carr has everything he needs to ball out in 2020.
In that case, the only time Mariota would bet on the field would be at the end of a Raiders blowout, and that would suit Raiders fans just fine.
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