Raiders implementing different plays for QB Marcus Mariota than with Derek Carr

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Raiders training camp ramped up a bit Saturday. The first five days are what they call their acclimation period, and today the players had easily their most extensive team sessions of camp so far, giving us our best look at the talent on the team.

The takeaway from it was just how good Marcus Mariota looks compared to last year when he was fighting through a torn pectoral muscle. Not to mention he had just come back several other injuries. Ultimately, he would be placed on injured reserve and miss the first ten weeks of the season.

Based on what Mariota did in his one game appearance last season, it isn’t a matter of shock that he can play. It’s just that we have not seen him perform at a high level in a training camp setting yet. But head coach Jon Gruden’s opinion of the former number two overall pick remains high.

“He’s a great talent,” Gruden said of Mariota. “He took a team to the playoffs in the Titans went from worst to first with him. And he’s got as much football character as anybody you’ll meet. He’s a great athlete and a great teammate and we’re excited to have him here.”

What we saw today was the fleet-footed, big-armed talent that made him a top draft pick and starter for four seasons in Tennessee. We also saw several instances where plays were clearly drawn up to play to his strengths as an athlete. Something Gruden would loved to have been able to do in last year’s camp, but never really had the chance.

“Last year was hard because he was hurt all the time. He didn’t have the offseason program and then he missed ten weeks of the season,” Gruden added. “This complex thing we’re trying to pull off here, I don’t know what you saw today, but we’re not going to call exactly the same plays when Marcus is in the game than when Derek is in the game. You wouldn’t either. That’s why we have a very fast playbook. And I think for Marcus to be great, he has to run plays that he’s good at and he likes. That’s what we do for every quarterback. I was excited today with some of the things that we looked at and there’s a lot more in the bubble that we got to get to later in the next couple weeks.”

Last season the only time we saw Mariota was when Derek was injured. He entered the week 15 game against the Chargers in the first quarter and played the rest of the way. Fairly standard for a backup quarterback. But these different plays and Mariota’s different skillset, particularly as a runner, allows the Raiders to put him in the game as a change-up should they choose to do so. In the sam vein as what the Saints did with Taysom Hill. That makes Mariota all the more intriguing as far more than a contingency plan.