The Las Vegas Raiders pulled out all the stops to get a win over the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. This included a goal-line package for backup QB Marcus Mariota, where he was able to run the ball in for the touchdown from the three-yard line.
Mariota has only received five snaps of work this season, all of them being runs. His longest was for 31 yards against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1, but Thanksgiving was his first touchdown of the year. Because of that, the Raiders may look to get him more involved.
Raiders head coach Rich Bisaccia spoke about their plans with Mariota and what he can bring to the team. “Well, I think you saw Greg [Olson] do a great job of this week is, we had him in there multiple times and he ends up scoring a touchdown for us because of his athletic ability and what he can do in certain situations, but certainly what we are asking him to do.”
“Without giving too much away, I think he is hopefully going to be a part of the packages as we go forward. He practices like he’s preparing to play all the time. And the other thing is, it’s really hard to take No. 4 (Derek Carr) out from behind the center as well, especially if he’s playing the way he played on Thanksgiving Day.”
It certainly sounds like Mariota could be given a Taysom Hill-like role moving forward. The major concern from that is how Derek Carr might feel being taken out of the gameplan in various situations, but Bisaccia didn’t appear to be worried. “I think on the touchdown, you saw Derek might have been the first or second guy out there to congratulate him. So, I think Derek is about the team. Derek is about doing whatever we can do to put ourselves in position to win a game.”
“I think you see it by the way in which he prepares, by the way in which he plays, and they certainly have a professional relationship with respect to each other’s job and what they are trying to do to help us win. So, I don’t feel like that’s an issue in any way. I just feel like they are certainly competitors, but I certainly think they want to do whatever they can do to help us win games.”
Carr is as team-first a player as you can find in the NFL. It’s nearly impossible to find a time where he complained about the way he was being used or the decision-making of the coaching staff. He has always been externally supportive of whatever decisions are being made around him.
So perhaps giving Mariota a few extra touches to see if they can add another layer to their offense is the right call. As the Raiders hope to make a playoff push, they need to be as versatile as possible, and having an athletic backup QB allows them to experiment even more.
Waller doubtful for Week 13
Bisaccia revealed that Darren Waller is considered week-to-week after the knee injury he suffered against the Cowboys. If he is unable to go for Week 13 against the Washington Football Team, it would open up even more chances for them to experiment with Mariota.