Much has been made of the Denver Broncos for the miserable season they had, but you don’t have to look outside this division to find another team wreck: the Las Vegas Raiders.
New head coach and former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels led the Raiders to a disappointing 6-9 record despite having All-Pro talent such as Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs and Maxx Crosby on the roster. Each of their losses (apart from a 24-0 shutout by the Saints) has been by six points or less, and they have shed four double-digit halftime leads they held.
When asked after the team’s last loss, a 13-10 loss to the Steelers in which they again lost their minds in the final minute, if he would commit to the Pro quarterback Bowl Derek Carr, McDaniels had a surprising response.
“I think it’s possible we’ll do the right thing regardless of position,” McDaniels told reporters on Tuesday.
“In order for us to win at this time of year and be productive, offensively, you have to throw the ball better than what we’ve thrown here sometimes over the last month and a half. We managed to win despite that, overall, but clearly, that’s not the goal. The goal would be to be more productive than we have been.
Carr, a nine-year veteran who has been with the Raiders his entire career, had a season a little below his standards, having already hit his career-high in steals (14) with two games left and sporting his worst rating. passer and yards per play since his rookie year. Still, it would be a surprising move to bench him at this point in the season, with the Raiders’ playoff hopes technically still alive (they’re out with a Dolphins or Jets win).
Former Patriot Jarrett Stidham is the backup quarterback, and McDaniels has known the Auburn product from his time in New England. However, Stidham has just 61 career NFL pass attempts and has never started a game.
Some thought McDaniels could be done with the Raiders like his division teammate Nathaniel Hackett, but reports surfaced that the team was too “money poor” to fire him after one season. Maybe they’re leaving Carr instead, who no longer has a guaranteed salary on his contract and would only be a small amount of dead cap if they let him go. Benching him for Stidham would seem like a first step in that direction.
One might wonder what Adams, Carr’s best friend and former college teammate to whom the team traded two first-round picks this offseason, would think of the move.