OAKLAND,Calif. — While Derek Carr and other starters are expected to play in the Oakland Raiders‘ preseason home opener against the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday night, EJ Manuel has taken a lead over Connor Cook in the competition to be Carr’s backup.
Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said the race to be the Raiders’ No. 2 quarterback remains open, though.
“I think the time we had here and the first game the other night, I think [Manuel] has done a little more, done enough to be in the second slot,” Del Rio said after the Raiders broke camp in Napa, California, on Thursday.
“I think they’ll continue to alternate reps and both get opportunities to show us,” Del Rio said. “I’m pleased with both of the guys. I thought both guys operated pretty darn well the other night.”
With Carr sitting out Oakland’s 20-10, preseason-opening loss at the Arizona Cardinals last Saturday, Manuel started and played the entire first half before giving way to Cook, who went the rest of the way.
Manuel completed his first six passes and ended 10-for-12 for 107 yards and a passer rating of 103.8.
“I just wanted to focus on playing a mentally error-free game,” Manuel said. “I just wanted to go through my progressions, take what was there, and not try to do too much. Obviously as we progress in the season, especially in the preseason, I think more will be able to come out as far as my own play.”
Manuel, who spent his first four NFL season with Buffalo after the Bills drafted him No. 16 overall in 2013, said his “comfort level” was growing by the day.
“Each rep I get with this team, I’m extremely excited to be here,” he said. “I’m very fortunate they brought me in to continue to help this team get better and win. We have a great quarterback room and Derek was extremely supportive from the sideline even though he didn’t play. He was right there on my hip as soon as I came off the field, so that made me feel great too.”