Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has a positive outlook regarding the organization's decision to sign Marcus Mariota in free agency.
In an interview with Vic Tafur of The Athletic, Carr made it clear that he has no issue with the fact that the Raiders brought in Mariota to back him up and potentially even compete with him for the starting job:
"I gotta be honest with you, it doesn't even bother me one bit. And that is being completely true to myself. No one outside of who I am is going to push me harder than me. Like, I always encourage guys to go ahead and wake up when I wake up, study how much I study, work hard like I work hard. I'm not the least bit looking to my left or to my right when I'm doing a rep, I'm focused on me. It's just that when you're the same face and you're one of the last same faces that's been around for seven years, people just look for things to point out."
Carr has been the Raiders' starting quarterback since getting selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft, while Mariota was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft and served as the Tennessee Titans' starter until getting supplanted by Ryan Tannehill in the middle of last season.
Carr noted that he is in constant contact with head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock, and added that he was well aware that the Raiders were targeting Mariota before they signed him.
In addition to having no issue with the Raiders signing Mariota, Carr effusively praised Mariota and how he has handled himself since joining Las Vegas:
"I will say this, I've been around a lot of good dudes, but he's one of the best people that I've ever been around. I've had a lot of great quarterbacks come into our room and a lot of guys that were excited—E.J. Manuel comes to mind—but Marcus was the first one out of all those guys that right when he signed, he texted me and said, 'Derek, I am here to fully support you and help in any way that I can, and grow myself as a player and get healthy.' And not one time has that ever happened. He's just here to help ... and obviously, he is here to compete—we all know that. This is football. That's everybody's job."
While the Raiders went just 7-9 last season and missed the playoffs for the third consecutive year, Carr is coming off one of his best statistical campaigns. He completed a career-best 70.4 percent of his passes for 4,054 yards, 21 touchdowns and eight interceptions for a Raiders team that performed better than expected.
The offense should be even more explosive in 2020 as well since three rookies in first-round wide receiver Henry Ruggs, third-round wide receiver Bryan Edwards and third-round running back Lynn Bowden are joining a talented set of skill-position players that already includes running back Josh Jacobs, tight end Darren Waller and wideout Tyrell Williams.
Carr is a three-time Pro Bowler, and he arguably has a better chance to succeed this season than ever before due to the talent the front office has put around him.
Should he falter, however, the Raiders now have a backup has won a playoff game as a starter and made 61 regular-season starts in his career.
Mariota has thrown a total of just 31 touchdown passes over the past three seasons after throwing a career-high 26 in 2016, which means he may not be an immediate threat to Carr. After watching Tannehill take his job last season in Tennessee, however, Mariota is cognizant of the fact that it only takes one opportunity to change a career trajectory.