Marcus Mariota wasn't brought in with the expectation of being a starting quarterback for the Raiders in Year 1.
But early in training camp for Las Vegas, Mariota's athleticism and ability to make plays already are making an impression on his new coaching staff.
“He’s interesting. He took off a couple times today and really fired me up,” Gruden said after Friday’s practice (h/t RaidersWire). “He’s been hurt. Looked like the ankle has really turned the corner. He’s a dazzling playmaker with his feet and that’s the key to his game. I saw glimpses of that today and it was exciting. Started off slow in 7-on-7 but picked it up and had a really nice day.”
After being the starting QB for the Tennessee Titans in each of his first four NFL seasons, he was usurped by Ryan Tannehill on the depth chart after being benched during a Week 6 loss. Tannehill started the remainder of the season as Tennessee advanced to the AFC Championship Game before losing to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Derek Carr is solidified as QB1 for the franchise's first season in Las Vegas, but don't count out Mariota to have some kind of a role in the offense week to week. Now that Gruden has seen it up close and personal, he'll have a hard time keeping Mariota's eye-popping speed on the sideline.
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