With NFL training camps beginning across the league this week, the Raiders have embarked on a new journey in Las Vegas. A new city, a new stadium, and potentially a new quarterback?
There will be quite the quarterback battle in Sin City this upcoming season between seven-year Raiders starting quarterback Derek Carr and six-year quarterback Marcus Mariota - in his first season with the Raiders after signing the former Oregon Duck and Heisman Trophy winner this offseason.
On Thursday, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden met with members of the media over Zoom and explained more on Mariota’s progression, rehabbing from injury and more:
#Raiders coach Jon Gruden said he is "very impressed" with Marcus Mariota thus far, coming off shoulder and ankle injuries.— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) July 30, 2020
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I’ve been impressed. The number one thing with Marcus was to get healthy - he had a shoulder problem, he had an ankle problem - it’s a real credit to him to get the injury rehab done during all this social distancing and the distraction of finding a doctor and being safe. He did a great job getting himself healthy and learning our system. That will give him a chance to be Marcus Mariota. — Jon Gruden
If that sounds like Gruden knows just how dynamic and dominant Mariota can be, it’s because he does.
The two met in 2015 as a part of ‘Gruden’s QB camp’, a series that featured one-on-one, in-depth coaching sessions and film study with quarterback draft prospects.
Gruden liked what he saw in Mariota then and he likes what he sees in Mariota now.
Carr is somewhat on the hot seat in Las Vegas. The last time the Raiders posted a winning record was 2016 where they went 12-4 and clinched a wild card spot in the playoffs. But that was the only year Carr led the Raiders to any postseason appearance in his seven seasons as the starter.
Carr is a three-time Pro Bowl selection, but his days as the starter could be limited unless he gets back to his 2016 days (or a player like Mariota comes in and steals the show).
Duck fans were all too pleased to see Mariota leave Tennessee and believed that the Titans organization and coaching staff didn’t allow Mariota to be the Mariota that led Oregon to the national championship and brought the program its first ever Heisman Trophy.
Sounds like Gruden is happy with a healthy Mariota in his quarterback room and is ready to let him off the leash.
You can watch more from the Raiders press conference here.
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