Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden was impressed by quarterback Marcus Mariota following the third practice of training camp in which players wore helmets as the coach absolutely sees a potential in the 26-year-old. Mariota, the second overall pick of the 2015 NFL draft, spent his first several NFL.seasons with the Tennessee Titans, who benched him after early struggles in the 2019 season.
The Raiders believed Mariota could be a valuable addition to their team so they signed the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner this offseason. "He's interesting," Gruden said, with a smile, of Mariota, per ESPN. "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 [drills], but [he] picked it up, had a nice day.
Had a real nice day."
Mariota brought in to be a competition for Derek Carr
There have been lots of rumors over the last few months that the Raiders aren't fully sold on Carr so they brought in Mariota to be a competition to their starting quarterback.
"It's like weird, crazy things that link you together," Carr, 29, said earlier in camp. "I'll tell you one thing, in our quarterback group you have to compete, and that's what I do. Anyone that's around me, all I'm going to do is compete.
I've had multiple starters in the NFL come in here and be in the same room as me. You can go through the list about who's started games and who's been in our quarterback room. It happens all the time, but when you go 7-9, people like to make up stuff."
Carr, who was one of the MVP candidates in 2016, has made three Pro Bowl appearances and he is the franchise's all-time leading passers but the Raiders have had only one winning season in six year's with him at the helm.
"The best quarterbacks are the ones that have the wins. Stats will follow," Raiders owner Mark Davis told ESPN. Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson is happy to have Mariota as he thinks he will push Carr to work harder.
"Competition brings out the best in any player in any sport," Olson said. "I would say it's the best competition that we've had since we've been here."