The Las Vegas Raiders are looking to end the 2020 NFL season on a high note after being officially eliminated from the playoffs in disappointing fashion.
Lost in the disappointment of another collapse late in the season was the fact that quarterback Derek Carr managed to play through the pain of a strained groin in Week 16 after he suffered the injury a week earlier.
Carr was adamant about making his return under center with the Raiders’ slim playoff hopes still alive at that point. Although that is no longer the case, nothing has changed in terms of his desire to play.
Raiders head Coach Jon Gruden says Carr will start versus the Denver Broncos in Week 17 but acknowledged the possibility of backup quarterback Marcus Mariota making an appearance, via Vic Tafur of The Athletic:
Gruden said Derek Carr “will start and finish the season, just like we anticipated he would. Whether Marcus (Mariota) has a role in this, we'll wait and see." #Raiders
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) December 28, 2020
It comes as no surprise to see that Carr plans to help this team potentially finish the season at .500. He was able to will himself back on the field last week and did his job for the most part under center by completing 21-of-34 passes for 336 yards with a touchdown passing and one touchdown rushing. As a result, it seemed highly unlikely that he would sit out of the season finale.
Despite the issues that plagued the Raiders during the second half of the season, Carr has been unwavering in his status as a leader for this team both on and off the field. All the turmoil seemingly helped solidify his desire to step up when the team needed it most but it did not translate into the necessary wins.
Gruden’s comments indicate that he could be looking to get Mariota some playing time before the season officially comes to a close. He did a solid job of filling in for Carr and this will be the last chance to put their surplus of talent under center on display.