Jon Gruden made headlines once again with his decision to keep four quarterbacks on the Oakland Raiders’ roster after the initial final cuts going into the 2019 NFL season.
That number has now been reduced to three after quarterback Nathan Peterman was placed on the injured reserve list after suffering an elbow injury. His injury has seemingly opened things up for quarterback Deshone Kiser to take on an increased role after being claimed off waivers from the Green Bay Packers.
It is no secret that Gruden was enamored with Peterman’s skill set. Unfortunately, the injury had suddenly raised plenty of concern about their depth under center.
According to Eddie Paskal of the team’s official website, Gruden wanted to put an emphasis shoring up the backups behind quarterback Derek Carr:
“Well it was unfortunate, Nate Peterman hurt his elbow and we had to put him on IR,” said Head Coach Jon Gruden following practice. “I’m a big believer that you have to take care of that position.”
Kizer spent the preseason with the Packers before failing to make the final cut. As a result, the Raiders wasted no time in claiming him off waivers to help appease Gruden’s concerns about quarterback depth:
“Kizer is a guy that I liked coming out of Notre Dame,” Gruden explained. “He’s only 23 years old. He has 15, 16 starts. Started two games in the preseason this year for Green Bay, so he’s had a lot of reps. He’s had a lot of experiences. I’m sure most of his bad experiences, like Peterman, will be reported over and over. But I think he’s got a big upside. He’s athletic. I know [offensive coordinator] Greg [Olson] and I are looking forward to working with him. We have to fast track him. He has a lot to learn in a short period of time.”
Gruden admitted that he sleeps much better at night knowing he has more than one contingency plan in case starter Derek Carr gets injured:
“I didn’t like it,” Gruden said when asked about carrying just two quarterbacks in 2018. “We went down to one quarterback last year and I almost jumped off the bridge. You have to shut down business if you don’t have a backup quarterback. My brother went through it last year. I don’t know how many quarterbacks they had to play. Some franchises go with two. They had a guy that stayed healthy for 10 years. I hope Derek [Carr] does that. This is no reflection on Derek, but I just think you have to have guys developing at that position. You have to have guys ready to go out and play. We have really good receivers. We have a good group of offensive lineman. We want to have a quarterback that can help everybody win.”
There is certainly plenty of truth to Gruden’s comments. Any team with hopes of winning a championship must first ensure some stability under center. The Philadelphia Eagles solidified that notion when they won Super Bowl LII with backup quarterback Nick Foles.
If all goes well, Gruden will not have to rely on any of his backups in the 2019 campaign. Regardless, it still pays to be prepared in the event Carr is unable to play for any reason. Kizer was also a second-round draft pick in 2017 so presents some upside.