WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Canada —Raiders coach Jon Gruden raised a lot of eyebrows when he told reporters, “This Nate Peterman is growing on me,” early in training camp.
After all, it’s difficult not to think of the word “interception” when you hear Peterman’s name. In eight career games, he has thrown 12 picks — including five in the first half of his first start in 2017.
But since arriving with the Raiders in December of 2018, Gruden has essentially made Peterman his personal reclamation project. And through three preseason games, Gruden’s approach seems to be working.
Peterman took 81 percent of the offensive snaps in the Raiders’ 22-21 victory over the Packers on Thursday, leading a two-minute drill that set up kicker Daniel Carlson for his game-winning 33-yard field goal. Peterman kept the drive alive with a floating 20-yard, fourth-down pass to wide receiver Keon Hatcher that put the Raiders in scoring territory.
“I like what he did tonight, especially late in the football game,” Gruden said.
In all, Peterman completed 23 of his 37 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns as the Raiders moved to 3-0 in the preseason.
“It was just really fun, honestly, to be out there and get to compete a little bit, almost play a full game,” Peterman said.
Quarterback Mike Glennon started the contest and played the first quarter before Peterman came on in relief for the final three. While the two quarterbacks have been competing for the backup role, Gruden said the team had seen enough of Glennon, who played well last week in Arizona.
But that doesn’t mean Glennon has earned the job behind Derek Carr.
“I’m not going to get into anything right now other than we’ve got two pretty good quarterbacks who are competing for the No. 2 spot,” Gruden said. “We call the game differently when Mike’s in there than when Nate’s in there, and that will be the case if we keep all three — or whoever the backup is. But I thought both of those guys performed well in the last three games.”
So far in August, Peterman has completed 70.2 percent of his passes for 317 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. According to Gruden, that touchdown number easily could’ve been higher Thursday night.
“I thought he had two touchdown passes dropped today that were right on the money,” Gruden said. “Thought he had a couple other balls that were dropped right on the money.”
Undrafted rookie preseason sensation Keelan Doss has caught most of his passes from Peterman. He said he’s enjoyed playing with the quarterback.
“Oh, he’s awesome. Nate’s my guy, man,” Doss said, noting he can tell Peterman’s confidence is high. “I can’t say enough nice things about him. He’s making plays, obviously.”
Gruden mentioned last year was the first time he’d kept just two quarterbacks while entering a season, perhaps hinting he’d like to find a way to keep both Glennon and Peterman behind Carr.
“Not saying we’re going to keep two or three, but we’re going to try to keep the best 53 guys,” Gruden said. “We’ve got three guys who can play the position, and we’ll have to make that decision here in the next week.”
Having put together a solid preseason, Peterman will do his best to maintain his approach next week as he continues his push to make the regular-season roster.
“I think every rep, you treat as trying to be your best and move on and learn from it — whether good or bad,” he said. “So I think you just keep coming, try to keep making steps.”