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Las Vegas Raiders: Why Josh McDaniels may prefer a rookie QB over Aaron Rodgers

We don’t need to rehash how Derek Carr’s tenure with the Las Vegas Raiders unraveled and ended with his release Tuesday, but David Carr said something about his brother’s departure that should raise your eyebrows a bit.

On the NFL Network, Carr talked about the clash of ideas between his younger brother and Raiders’ head coach Josh McDaniels.

“There was just a difference of opinion as far as how to run offensive football and how to play offensive football. When you’re a veteran quarterback, you have veteran guys, they want some control at the line of scrimmage.

They want to be able to utilize their superpower…[Derek] wants to get to the line, decipher what the defense is doing, get in the appropriate play, and that skill wasn’t utilized in Las Vegas under Josh McDaniels.”

After a Week 1 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, Carr shared a telling reality of the early goings in his football marriage with McDaniels that speaks to what his brother said a few days ago (h/t The Athletic’s Vic Tafur):

The NFL Network analyst didn’t speak with animosity toward McDaniels. He also said that his brother and McDaniels had a good conversation before the team parted ways with its nine-year starter.

Nonetheless, McDaniels’ reported unwillingness to allow Carr much freedom at the line of scrimmage seems a bit odd for a nine-year veteran who’s played in a several offensive systems under five play-callers in his career.

Related: Ideal Derek Carr landing spots in NFL free agency

Aaron Rodgers is a questionable fit with Josh McDaniels

aaron rodgers, las vegas raiders
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC

With nearly a decade in the league, Carr’s experience should be an asset, but McDaniels wanted to do things his way. Knowing this, Aaron Rodgers may not mesh well with the Raiders head coach and lead offensive play-caller.

Rodgers, who’s a four-time league MVP and Super Bowl champion, has earned the right to freelance at the line of scrimmage, but would McDaniels allow him to do that?

In fairness, McDaniels may trust Rodgers more than Carr with tweaks to the structure of his system, but the Las Vegas Raiders lead skipper may prefer to mold a young quarterback or start someone who’s familiar with his offense and runs it accordingly. Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett or Jarrett Stidham paired with a rookie sounds like a more probable quarterback plan than an aggressive move for Rodgers, who’s year-to-year with his commitment to football.

When McDaniels accepted the Las Vegas Raiders’ head-coaching job, he acquired Stidham a few months later, a signal-caller who knew the offense for three years. Don’t expect the Raiders’ play-caller to all of the sudden pursue Baker Mayfield or Gardner Minshew in free agency. McDaniels will probably stick to the quarterbacks who are familiar with his offense—even if they played under him years ago.

Related: C.J. Stroud or Aaron Rodgers for the Las Vegas Raiders?

Josh McDaniels’ second-year itch for a rookie QB

las vegas raiders draft c.j. stroud
Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

As the case with his head-coaching stint with the Denver Broncos, McDaniels may be ready to make an aggressive move for a rookie quarterback. In 2010, he gave up a second-third- and fourth-round pick for the No. 25 overall selection and selected Tim Tebow.

No need to crush McDaniels for a trade that happened 13 years ago, but we shouldn’t be surprised if he brokers another draft-day deal to get the quarterback of his choice.

With the No. 7 overall pick, the Raiders sit slightly out of range for the top two quarterbacks in this year’s draft, particularly Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud. Unless McDaniels has an eye for Will Levis or Anthony Richardson, he may try to move up for Stroud, who has some mobility but is primarily a pocket passer.

Other than Cam Newton, whom the Patriots signed months into free agency as a last-resort option in 2020, McDaniels seems to prefer a pocket passer who’s mobile but isn’t heavily dependent on his legs to make plays—that’s Stroud to a tee.

Aside from Stroud, McDaniels may take a look at Stanford’s Tanner McKee in the middle rounds of the upcoming draft if Stidham isn’t back with the team for whatever reason. McKee fits into the pocket-passing mold and doesn’t offer much with his legs.

Remember, from afar in New England, McDaniels grew fond of Carr, who has more athleticism than he displays in the pocket.

McDaniels doesn’t seem particularly interested in the uber-athlete who thrives off creating something out of nothing outside the structure of an offense. Perhaps he’s stuck in his ways, or maybe the play-caller wants a quarterback who adheres to the design of his system.

Whatever the case, McDaniels may believe it’s time to mold a young signal-caller behind a veteran who knows his offense rather than roll with Rodgers for a year or two.

Maurice Moton covers the Las Vegas Raiders for Sportsnaut. You can follow him on Twitter at @MoeMoton.

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