McDaniels: Stidham’s success no reflection on Carr’s play
Derek Carr’s struggles not related to his failure to grasp Josh McDaniels’ offensive system, the Raiders coach said Monday after the offense thrived in Jarrett Stidham’s first start.
The insertion of Jarrett Stidham into the starting lineup seemed to unlock the potential of what a Josh McDaniels offense could look like with weapons like Davante Adams, Darren Waller and Josh Jacobs in the mix.
Stidham got those players involved early and often, showing off not only his mobility but a grasp of the system that made the Raiders look as explosive as they have all season.
All of the success they enjoyed Sunday, even in what was eventually a 37-34 overtime loss to the 49ers, made it fair to wonder whether some of the lulls the offense experienced this season were caused by former starter Derek Carr’s relative inexperience in the system.
McDaniels quickly rebuffed that notion during his weekly Monday news conference when he was asked whether Carr was slow to grasp the offense and whether that held the team back this season.
“I don’t think that at all,” McDaniels said. “I have a lot of things that our offense can do better, but that’s not very high on the list of things.”
Stidham engineered the offense’s most productive game of the season through the air and led them to their second-highest total yards against the top defense in the league in the first start of his career.
McDaniels, who was his offensive coordinator the past three seasons in New England, wasn’t surprised because of how well he has gotten to know Stidham over the years.
“First of all, he’s a great human being,” McDaniels said. “I think he gets along really well with everybody. He’s a very honest guy, works really hard and loves football.
“Obviously, he sat and watched a lot of football in the few years that he’s been in the NFL. And I think there’s a lot of people yesterday that were happy that he had an opportunity and then made the most of his opportunity.”
McDaniels praised Stidham’s willingness to share his extensive comprehension of the offense with everyone in the building, from the other quarterbacks on down to the practice squad guys, from the moment he entered the building. That helped prove how team-oriented he was even when he wasn’t seeing any game action.
He’ll get one more chance to showcase what he can do as the starter this week when the Raiders host the Chiefs on Saturday.
It remains to be seen if the offense he directs could be without one of its key pieces. Running back Josh Jacobs played through an oblique injury he suffered on the first offensive series on Sunday and admitted after the game he was hurting.
Jacobs could possibly have the rushing title sewn up without even stepping on the field. Plus, the Raiders have been eliminated from postseason contention.
But Jacobs could set a franchise record should he have a big game and has said he wants to play as much football he can regardless of individual achievements or what’s at stake for the season out of respect for his teammates.
McDaniels said he hopes Jacobs will be able to go on Saturday.
“I don’t put anything by him,” McDaniels said. “I mean there was a couple times he came out yesterday and I thought they were going to tell me, ‘See you on Monday,’ and the son of a gun keeps going back in the game. So, I don’t put anything past (Jacobs). He’s a warrior and we’ll see how it goes this week.”
Should he not be able to go, it could mean an increased workload for rookie Zamir White if he is healthy. White has missed the last two games with an ankle injury, but was close enough Sunday that the Raiders tested him on the field before the game, so he’ll likely be ready for Saturday.
McDaniels believes his team will be prepared as well, despite not finding out until late Sunday night that their final game would be on Saturday instead of Sunday.
The team is using Monday and Tuesday for rest and treatment with practice resuming Wednesday, much like the way the team handled the Saturday game against Pittsburgh last month.
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