Stidham relishing his role with Raiders, playing for McDaniels

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jarrett Stidham (3) scrambles for a touchdown with Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Jeremiah Ledbetter (98) chasing during the first half of the Exhibition Hall of Fame game NFL football, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in Canton, Ohio.  (AP Photo/David Dermer)

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jarrett Stidham (3) scrambles for a touchdown with Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Jeremiah Ledbetter (98) chasing during the first half of the Exhibition Hall of Fame game NFL football, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in Canton, Ohio. (AP Photo/David Dermer)

PA

Jarrett Stidham knows who the starting quarterback is in Las Vegas.

That hasn’t stopped him from acting like an incoming starter for the Raiders.

After all, when you understand a new offensive system perhaps better than anyone entering training camp, there’s an advantage that has established confidence.

“I think my biggest goal right now is just to compete with these guys every day and push them all as much as I can and help them along the way and just compete and play ball,” Stidham said, who spent the first three seasons of his career in New England.

“I mean, that’s all I can focus on right now, that’s all I can control. I’m happy to finally be healthy and to be back on the pitch and to play football, so it’s a lot of fun.

Stidham had a great time in his first outing for the Raiders, completing 8 of 15 attempts for 96 yards in Las Vegas’ 27-11 win over Jacksonville in the Hall of Fame Game.

His highlight, however, came late in the second quarter when he rushed 12 yards for a touchdown, bringing a grin from ear to ear to starting quarterback Derek Carr’s face.

“It was awesome,” Stidham said. “Basically the other 21 guys were running to my left, and I just ran to the right and that’s kind of how it went. So I was happy with it. »

Now happy to be in Las Vegas, Stidham joins a coach who has shaped his offensive game since the Patriots drafted him from Auburn in the 2019 draft when Josh McDaniels was still New England’s offensive coordinator. .

After appearing in a total of eight games, supporting Tom Brady and Cam Newton in his first two seasons, Stidham missed out last year after back surgery prevented him from competing with Mac Jones.

Then one morning in May, while practicing, Patriots coach Bill Belichick told him they were sending him “to Vegas for Josh and the rest of them.”

Stidham, who turned 26 on Monday, now finds himself competing with Nick Mullens and Chase Garbers for the back-up role behind Carr, but what has proven beneficial is how McDaniels expects his attack is managed.

“I tried to be as helpful as possible because I know when I was in Chase, my rookie year, Brian Hoyer, Tom Brady, those guys really helped me on offense and just learned to be a pro,” Stidham said. . “That’s what I tried to help with Chase; and then obviously with Nick (Mullens) and Derek (Carr), those guys being vets, just trying to help them as much as possible with little things. And it really goes with everyone, running backs, tight ends, receivers, the O line, I just try to help as much as I can where I can.

That said, his familiarity with attacking McDaniels doesn’t automatically give him the upper hand in the aid station hunt, as there are certain intangibles that come with installing a system on a new team.

“All these guys come here and they’ve had practice in the morning, they’ve got a heavy set-up in the evening, they’ve got a tour in the evening and the set-up (isn’t) the same as he had before in New England said Raiders offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi.

“It’s something he has to learn that night and study that night to really understand. Now, obviously, the operation gives him an advantage, but how does he take advantage of it? Knowing that takes the next step of doing the real things that we talked about as a quarterback.

Like communicating with an offensive line that has plenty of question marks a month before the start of the regular season.

Or small things that are not just based on assignments but understanding the big picture with the new staff they’re working with and understanding their role with a new set of receivers in case they should replace Carr.

Stidham’s footballing IQ and thirst for learning are not overlooked.

“Great kid, smart, works hard at the game,” McDaniels said. “He understands what he’s trying to do, led the attack quite effectively the other night. Took care of the ball, made a few plays with his legs. I see him as a young player who continues to develop and to improve. We haven’t reached his peak yet. We have a lot of players in our squad that I would say that about, but certainly Jarrett is one of them.

NOTE: The Raiders announced Wednesday that they have signed free agent wide receiver Chris Lacy, who spent two seasons with Detroit (2018-19). Lacy appeared in eight games, totaling three catches for 60 yards. He originally signed as an undrafted free agent with the Patriots in 2018. In a corresponding move, the Raiders released Jordan Veasy.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Naomi C. Amerson