On face value, Raiders coach Jon Gruden simply gave a compliment to his backup quarterback Marcus Mariota on a Friday during training camp.
It’s as benign as can be and it happens in 32 NFL training camps every summer.
But a much bigger deal is made when Gruden says nice things about quarterbacks other than Derek Carr. This was our reaction when we first heard Gruden’s comments Friday:
This is exactly what Gruden said when asked about the former Tennessee Titans’ starter who was signed to backup Carr in March:
“He’s interesting. He took off a couple times today and it really fired me up. He’s been hurt, but looks like the ankle really turned a corner. He’s a dazzling playmaker with his feet and that’s the key to his game. I saw glimpses of that today, it’s exciting. Started off slow on 7-on-7, but picked it up, had a nice day. Had a real nice day.”
It was nice praise, but, at this point, it doesn’t mean anything more. Yet, I have already seen theories about what it means about Carr. This comes after radio personality Colin Cowherd predicted Mariota will start over Carr.
My take on the Raiders’ quarterback situation remains the same. The only way Carr won’t be the starter this season is if he completely falls apart or if he’s injured.
Yet, not everyone agrees. Every time Gruden praises Mariota, the chatter will get louder.