When Derek Carr went down with a leg injury on Christmas Eve against the Indianapolis Colts, that was the end of the season for the Oakland Raiders. Matt McGloin got injured in the last week of the season. Connor Cook had his first NFL start in the playoffs against a great Houston Texans defense. Oakland ended up getting beat up by the Texans in the playoffs. The Raiders couldn’t get it done with any backup quarterback. Injuries unfortunately happen. Oakland needs a backup quarterback that can lead the team if Carr ever gets hurt again.
The Oakland Raiders Backup Quarterback Situation
Connor Cook was only a rookie in 2016 when he was thrust into starting in the wild card round of the playoffs against the Houston Texans. The former fourth-round pick was known to make big plays at Michigan State. Oakland drafted Cook with the intention of having him compete with Matt McGloin for the backup job. With McGloin now on the Eagles, Cook is expected to take over the number two quarterback role.
Cook played his first NFL game against the Denver Broncos in the last week of the 2016 regular season. McGloin initially got the start for the injured Derek Carr, but he ended up getting hurt himself. Connor played alright considering the situation. He threw one touchdown and one interception against a tough Broncos defense. Cook’s start against Houston in the playoffs was abysmal. He finished 18 for 45 for 161 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions.
So, Connor Cook might not have the experience, but his ceiling is still pretty high. Plus, he played in and won many big games while in college. He still has a lot to learn, but he also has a lot to work with. Oakland is hoping he can figure it out sooner rather than later.
E.J. Manuel was drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. Manuel played and started ten games during his rookie season. During that time, the Bills went 4-6. Manuel completed 58.8 percent of his passes for 1,972 yards, 11 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Therefore, after his rookie season, Manuel didn’t get on the field much. In his second season, he was benched in favor of Kyle Orton. Between 2014-2016, Manuel only played in a total of 18 games. He could never regain that starting job.
Manuel is a free agent signing for the Oakland Raiders, and is expected to be in competition with Cook for the backup job. Manuel is an athletic quarterback that can make plenty of plays with his feet. This is something Cook cannot do. Also, Manuel has plenty of arm strength to go along with his athleticism. Plus, he boasts plenty of experience and a lot of abilities most backup quarterbacks wish they had.
Connor Cook has the experience with this Oakland Raiders team. E.J. Manuel has more experience overall. Cook will most likely win the job and become the full time backup. By the time the regular season starts, a backup will be chosen. Best case scenario would be a tight race to the end. Competition brings out the best in athletes. Furthermore, Oakland needs a backup with the ability to win games if necessary.