Raiders bench QB Carr, will start Stidham for final 2 games
HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has missed only three games in nine years, all because of injury.
Now, for the first time, he won’t play because of what coach Josh McDaniels said Wednesday were offensive performance reasons.
McDaniels not only will start Jarrett Stidham the final two weeks, including Sunday’s home game against the San Francisco 49ers, but Carr will be inactive. Practice squad quarterback Chase Garbers will be the backup.
The Raiders (6-9) have lost two of the past three games to all but fall out of the playoff race just a year after making the postseason.
Carr has not completed more than 55% of his passes in any of the past four games, and he has thrown seven interceptions and six touchdown passes in that span.
“I don’t think anybody feels like we’ve done enough offensively certainly in a couple of these games,” McDaniels said. “We couldn’t put enough points on the board, so I don’t think anybody’s really happy with what we’ve done.”
Wide receiver Davante Adams, who also played with Carr at Fresno State, helped orchestrate a trade from the Green Bay Packers in March largely because he wanted to play with him.
“I don’t think anybody was excited about it in here,” Adams said of Carr’s benching. “I wouldn’t be here right now if he wasn’t here. I think everybody knows how I feel about him. ... Obviously, I support my guy.”
Adams said his focus is on the final two games rather than what his options might look like after the season.
Carr was not at the Raiders’ facility, and Stidham was expected to address reporters Thursday.
“You’ve got to kind of take the emotions out of it and realize the only thing that can be productive is support Jarrett going forward,” tight end Darren Waller said. “The guys are excited about him being able to get an opportunity, so we’re rallying around him and letting him know we believe in him.”
By not playing Carr, the Raiders eliminate the possibility of a serious injury affecting his contract status. The club has until Feb. 15 to decide whether to release or trade Carr — who has a no-trade clause but could waive it — or he would receive $33 million for 2023. A serious injury would guarantee that money plus another $7.5 million for 2024.
Even before Wednesday’s announcement, there were serious questions whether the Raiders wanted to continue to invest in a quarterback who has led the team to just two playoff appearances.
“We’re all accountable to where we’re at, and I think this (decision) is more about an opportunity to see a guy that we haven’t seen play in a situation like this against a couple of good teams, really good teams,” McDaniels said. “Derek’s played a lot of football. There’s a lot of evaluating that’s going to take place here in terms of once the season’s over in terms of how we made the most progress, what makes the most sense for everybody, how to move forward.
“We knew that was going to be the case. Obviously, we were hoping to be in a different scenario than we are currently, but there’s no decision made. There’s no finality to today. This is the decision we thought after talking about it and contemplating. It would be an opportunity for us to see what we have in (Stidham).”
McDaniels is more than familiar with Stidham, who spent the previous three seasons with the New England Patriots. McDaniels was the Patriots offensive coordinator.
Including three games with the Raiders this season, Stidham has completed 32 of 61 passes for 342 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions. He has never started.
Carr has missed only two regular-season starts and one in the playoffs. He was just 165 yards away from passing Dan Marino (35,386) for the third-most passing yards through the first nine seasons of a career.
“Those aren’t easy conversations,” McDaniels said of his talk with Carr. “I couldn’t be more complimentary of him or the way he handled it. This is an A-1 class human being. He’s obviously meant a lot to this place for a long time, and we’ll see how this goes. I’m not going to sit here and predict the future. There’s a lot that could happen. We’re going to take those things one day at a time. Right now, we’re going to get ready for the 49ers.”
NOTES: McDaniels also said defensive lineman Chandler Jones (elbow) and linebacker Denzel Perryman (shoulder) were placed on season-ending injured reserve. ... Jones was playing better after a slow start with 4 1/2 sacks and three tackles for loss. He also returned an ill-advised lateral 48 yards for a touchdown on the final play two weeks ago to beat the Patriots. ... Perryman leads the Raiders with 83 tackles and his 14 tackles for loss are second. ... Defensive lineman Isaac Rochell and linebacker Harvey Langi were signed to the active roster and defensive lineman Trent Harris to the practice squad. Wide receiver Albert Wilson was released from the practice squad and offensive lineman Vitaliy Gurman restored to the practice squad.
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