Jarrett Stidham Las Vegas Raiders start dream come true
HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) – Quarterback Jarrett Stidham called getting the chance to start his first NFL game “a dream come true” even if the circumstances weren’t ideal and Sunday’s opponent owns the league’s top-ranked defense.
Stidham replaces Derek Carr, whose nine-year tenure with the Raiders likely ended Wednesday when he was benched for the final two games by Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels. Carr left the Raiders facility and has not returned.
“He’s getting the opportunity of a lifetime,” Maxx Crosby said of Stidham, “and I’m going to be his biggest fan.”
Like Carr, Stidham was briefed Wednesday morning. He said he spoke with Carr, who told Stidham to keep an even footing no matter what happens on the field.
“I can’t thank him enough for everything he’s helped me personally and professionally,” Stidham said. “He and his wife have both been very supportive and very welcoming of me and my wife here and our time together. He’s just a great person. Human being and obviously a great footballer, too. He’s definitely here for a long time. I’m just going to try to go out there and play the best I can and I know how.”
That won’t be easy against a San Francisco 49ers team that is first in total, scoring and rushing defense. Niners defensive end Nick Bosa comes to Las Vegas as the NFL leader with 17 1/2 sacks.
“You’re not going to get better if you don’t do it against the best,” Stidham said. “So it will be a big challenge for us as a team. They are good at all three stages and it will be a lot of fun. I’m very excited about it.”
Stidham, 26, was selected in the fourth round of the 2019 draft by the New England Patriots, where McDaniels was the offensive coordinator.
He was a backup in all three seasons, appearing in eight games. Stidham did not play in 2021 due to back surgery that July.
The Patriots traded him and a seventh-round pick to the Raiders in May for a sixth-round pick. That deal reunited him with McDaniels, so Stidham hasn’t had to learn a new offensive system.
“It’s been great,” Stidham said. “Coming into the offseason, obviously, it was good, having a good understanding of what was going on. But every week this year, I just tried to prepare with whatever game plan and be as prepared as possible to go and play.”
Stidham – who has made three appearances this season – said he didn’t look at these last two weeks as an audition. The Raiders could very well look for their next quarterback in the draft or try to acquire a veteran.
The offense is Stidham’s for now, a dream come true, if only for a short time.
“I think he’s ready,” Darren Waller said. “I think he’s doing it in a way that’s unique to him. Not trying to be someone else, not trying to be too rah-rah or too loud. He talks when he feels he needs to and jokes around with the boys. He has the personality to go out there and do well.”
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