LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Coaches can find meaning in meaningless exhibition games. It’s their job. Take Josh McDaniels after the Raiders beat the Minnesota Vikings 26-20 on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium.
In the second victory in as many exhibitions for his Raiders, the new coach liked the competition at quarterback, where Jarrett Stidham started and ran for a touchdown and Nick Mullens came on to pass for a score.
Neither will start for the Raiders. That’s reserved for Derek Carr, who for the second straight week played spectator.
But the play of Stidham and Mullens probably relieves a concern for McDaniels should Carr be hurt for a brief spell during the regular season.
“I thought all the quarterbacks did well,” said McDaniels, in his first season as Raiders coach. “I think Jarrett has really grown over time. … One of the things that keeps showing up, and I’m real happy about, is there’s no turnovers. Before we can win we have to learn how to not lose.”
McDaniels’ praise of each QB, including Chase Garbers who mopped up, related to their efficiency and decisions.
He seemed especially pleased with Stidham and Mullens. “I thought both of those guys did a good job.”
He also seemed satisfied with the rotation at offensive tackle, without delving too deeply into performances. What he appreciates is the work ethic and competition.
“There are some guys who didn’t start tonight for one reason or another that will be starting on opening day,” the coach said. “The competition is real, it’s ongoing, and I think it’s the healthiest thing we have going for us in the locker room because it makes everyone better. There’s something to be said about each day’s work they put in … it’s made our team better.”
The Raiders seemed a little more in tune against Minnesota, which was playing its first preseason game.
Mullens completed 7 of 9 passes for 94 yards and one touchdown, a 34-yarder to DJ Turner, and Stidham was 10-for-15 passing for 68 yards. He also ran 16 yards on four attempts, including a 4-yard touchdown.
Kellen Mond threw for 119 yards on nine completions, including two touchdowns, for the Vikings. Sean Mannion finished 8-for-12 for 79 yards.
Albert Wilson caught TD passes of 2 and 20 yards for Minnesota.