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Josh McDaniels at NFL Combine: Raiders coach talks quarterback, Josh Jacobs and more

McDaniels talks quarterback needs as the NFL offseason kicks into gear

Kansas City Chiefs v Las Vegas Raiders
Josh McDaniels
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

Last year in Indianapolis, then-new Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels flatly said that Derek Carr would be his opening day starting quarterback.

At the opening of this year’s combine, however, McDaniels made it clear he has no idea who will be the team’s Week 1 starter now that Carr is no longer on the team.

“We have to be in on the quarterback position, period,” McDaniels said on an appearance on the NFL Network on Tuesday morning after he appeared at the podium to kick off the NFL combine in Indianapolis. “Whether we do it in the first round or not, I don’t know. It will be based on our evaluations and depends of we feel we have the ability to acquire one.”

In both of his media sessions, McDaniels made it clear he is wide open on how to find quarterbacks this year and he made it clear there will be multiple acquired since deep backup Chase Garbers is currently the only quarterback on the roster.

McDaniels echoed recent comments by Las Vegas general manager Dave Ziegler that the Raiders may not find their long-term starter this year. McDaniels used the words “eventually” four times during his 20 minutes on the podium when it came to finding a young quarterback to be the long-term answered. Like every team, the Raiders want to build around a young quarterback and McDaniels alluded to AFC West foes, the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers have success draft picks with Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert.

McDaniels said that the team is excited to start talking to the rookie quarterbacks on Tuesday night. The quarterbacks will work out on the field this Saturday. McDaniels also said he liked the depth in this class, which may be a hint the team won’t be pressured into using a top draft pick at the position.

McDaniels mentioned Jarrett Stidham as a possibility. The 2022 backup (he started the final two games) is a free agent. Stidham has to be considered a possibility to start this season with the Raiders adding a rookie.

McDaniels did say he believes Tom Brady is firm in his retirement plans. Last year, McDaniels, who coached Brady for several years in New England, was unsure of Brady’s retirement during his brief time away from the game.

Asked what he was looking for in his next quarterback, McDaniels mentioned several traits including mental and physical toughness, the ability to get into the end zone, the ability to extend plays and ball security. He didn’t mention Carr during this time, but the Raiders’ former nine-season starter struggled in some of those areas.

McDaniels also stated the Raiders’ system will fit the next quarterback’s skill set. McDaniels has been criticized in the past for trying to force some players’ skills into his system rather than the other way.

Both McDaniels and Las Vegas general manager Dave Ziegler said star wide receiver Davante Adams will be kept abreast of the quarterback movement.

In non-quarterback developments:

  • McDaniels said Ziegler is talking to representatives for free-agent running back Josh Jacobs. He indicated the goal is a contract extension. The Raiders have until next Tuesday to franchise tag him. He will be able to talk to other teams in 13 days if he’s not tagged or extended.
  • McDaniels said the Raiders need more good players on defense and hope to get players who can either touch the quarterback or touch the ball.
  • McDaniels said he liked the way tight end Darren Waller finished the season after dealing with injuries and noted he will be a big part of the offense in 2023. There had been reports Waller could be traded.
  • McDaniels said defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will be more hands on with the defensive line this season. The team fired one of their defensive line coaches, Frank Okam, recently.