As currently constructed, the Oakland Raiders won’t win anything if franchise quarterback Derek Carr goes down this year. It will be just like it was when he missed the playoffs after his NFL MVP candidate 2016 season and tried to play with fractured vertebrae in 2017.
Part of the problem is what the Raiders have been trying to do with Connor Cook isn’t working. This is two seasons in a row that the Raiders gave Cook the No. 2 QB job before he gave it back. Like my daddy used to say, “You can’t get whiskey out of a bottle of wine.”
Gruden’s energy would be better spent trying to develop EJ Manuel than it is Cook. Friday night, Manuel was 8-12 for 87 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions and a fumble with a QB rating of 87.8. Cook was 6-15 for 72 yards, an INT and a paltry QB rating of 27.6. The lone TD scored in the Raiders’ 13-6 win over the Green Bay Packers was led by Manuel too. Not that he’s a Nick Foles in waiting but he’s a better option than Cook and would figure to be even better with more reps.
So, what is it about Cook?
Let’s not place all the blame head coach Jon Gruden. Former head coach Jack Del Rio tried the same thing. Though it doesn’t bode well for Gruden’s judgment that he called Cook a 1st-round pick when the Raiders took him in the fourth round in 2016. Either way, he needs to tumble down the Raiders’ depth chart. Gruden tried hard to get Cook going but last night showed this is a bad plan.
“I wanted to get Connor [Cook] first team all offensive line for a couple series,” Gruden said after the game.
The Raiders need to take a good look at Manuel in the preseason finale. And if they don’t feel comfortable with him, they could look outside the roster, as Gruden suggested after the game that the team could do.
“We are going to continue to work and see who is available,” Gruden said when asked about his backup QB situation. “There were some good moments tonight and there were some moments tonight that were not good. It has been too inconsistent, but I am not going to say much more tonight until I see the tape. But we are going to continue to evaluate.”
As crazy as this sounds, kicking tires on Colin Kaepernick suddenly sounds good. Cook certainly isn’t the guy you want out there leading the offense if Carr gets hurt.
Safe to say the tape Gruden is seeing looks horrible for Cook so it will be interesting to see what Gruden does now.