Raiders quarterback depth becoming a challenge

quarterback depth

Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr throws a first quarter pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Going into the season, the Raiders may have had the best quarterback depth in the league, with starter Derek Carr backed up by Marcus Mariota, who was backed up by Nathan Peterman.

All three have started games in the NFL.

quarterback depth
Dec 17, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) runs the ball against the defense of Los Angeles Chargers strong safety Rayshawn Jenkins (23) during overtime at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

But Mariota aggravated a quad strain in his one play in the first game against the Ravens. Last week in Pittsburgh, Carr played the entire game but went down when a Steelers lineman rolled up on his leg in the third quarter.

Fortunately, Carr was able to come back and finish the game. At this point, coach Jon Gruden says his status is “questionable.”

“He had an MRI on it (Monday),” Gruden said. “I think he’s going to be able to play. I’m not sure. We’ll have the official injury list for you. I will make sure that it gets officially laid out there in your hands, but I think right now he’s questionable.”

quarterback depth
Aug 29, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Nathan Peterman (3) runs the ball against the San Francisco 49ers in the third quarter at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not likely Carr, who has been playing like an MVP candidate in their first two games of the season, misses the start this week at home against the Dolphins, but it just goes to show how fast a team can go from a position of strength … to signing Kyle Sloter to the practice squad.

Sloter added to bolster quarterback depth

Sloter originally signed in 2017 as an undrafted free agent with the Denver Broncos. He was waived by the Broncos just before the season started and was signed to the Minnesota Vikings practice squad.

He spent two years on the Vikings practice squad before being waived in 2019. Since then, he’s been on the practice squad of the Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears.

The Raiders signed Sloter to a reserve/futures contract in January, but released him on April 15.

“He’s had some good preseason moments. He’s a talented young player,” Gruden said. “With [Marcus] Mariota out, you see Nate Peterman taking all the scout team reps. You don’t get to see practice, but we have a lot of reps, and we got a pass rush that’s coming, and every day I worry about someone stepping on Nate and not having a backup quarterback. 

“So, we have to be smart. Sloter will be a quick study. He’s a smart guy and he’ll take a lot of the scout team reps that Nate won’t take now.”

Dolphins quarterback depth an issue too

As potentially tenuous as the Raiders quarterback situation is, their opponent this week may be even in worse shape.

Dolphins starter Tua Tagovailoa left their game on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills with a rib injury and didn’t return. His status for Sunday’s game was unknown on Tuesday.

Gruden said his team is familiar enough with Tagovailoa and his backup, Jacoby Brissett, to develop a game plan.

“Yeah, well we know Tua from competing against him last year. We have also seen Brissett when he was a Colt, so we know something about them both.” Gruden said. “They’ve got a new offensive coordinator. They’ve got some changes on their offensive line as well. They’ve added a dynamic, young skill player in the draft. 

“We always have a lot of respect for their tight end and certainly DeVante Parker. So, they got an arsenal of weapons and I’m just more worried about my quarterback right now today than anything.”