The Raiders brought EJ Manuel to the team this offseason to give themselves an experienced option behind Derek Carr and they got their first look at him in their offense after Derek Carr injured his back last weekend.
There were ups and downs in the loss to the Broncos, but coach Jack Del Rio said he didn’t think “the moment was too big for” Manuel and the hope is that will remain the case against the Ravens this weekend. Tight end Lee Smith played with Manuel in Buffalo for two years and presented one reason to think Manuel can do better with the Raiders than he did with the Bills.
“EJ didn’t come into the greatest situation years ago in Buffalo,” Smith said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “We were in a building process up there, and we didn’t have Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree and Jared Cook. Not to say we were terrible back then, but he didn’t have what he has now. He was a 22-year old man with great expectations as a first-round draft pick. It wasn’t the best situation for him, but he always handled things like a pro. He’s a good quarterback and he’s a good man. I’d let him babysit my kids.”
In a perfect world, the Raiders would probably prefer Manuel was babysitting than leading the offense but that’s not the boat they’re in right now. They’ll have to make the best of an imperfect situation and hope that Carr is back under center sooner rather than later.