Jon Gruden Marcus Mariota
Jon Gruden is in love and already drooling over Marcus Mariota. What are the chances that Mariota replaces Derek Carr for the Raiders this season? (AP Photo/John Locher, Pool)

I’ve been saying all offseason that I believe Marcus Mariota will start at least 1 game for the Raiders this season. I have also believed for a long time that Mariota can’t play in the NFL. Based on his career, it’s clear Mariota can’t play. Jon Gruden is the only man in America who’s excited to watch the former Oregon quarterback.

Jon Gruden isn’t just excited about Marcus Mariota. Gruden is full blown in love and drooling over Mariota:

“He’s interesting,” Gruden said, with a smile, of Mariota. “He took off a couple times today and it really fired me up. He’s been hurt, but looks like the ankle really turned a corner. He’s a dazzling playmaker with his feet, and that’s the key to his game.

“I saw glimpses of that today. It’s exciting. Started off slow on 7-on-7 [drills], but [he] picked it up, had a nice day. Had a real nice day.”

The Raiders signed Mariota to a two-year deal worth $17.6 million this offseason. That’s not chump change. Mariota may enter the season as the backup but I truly do think Mariota will take over at some point. The Raiders first 6 games include Carolina, New Orleans, New England, Buffalo, Kansas City, and Tampa. Anything short of 3-3 and it feels like Carr is in trouble.

This was brought up by Adam Ramirez on one of the fantasy shows. I think he could be right. Will Mariota have a Taysom Hill sort of role if he’s not the starting quarterback for Vegas? Time will tell if Gruden is creative with Mariota beyond just playing quarterback.