Raiders Cook-Manuel Quarterback Duel is Going Down to the Wire

Performances in Saturday night's exhibition game vs. Cowboys could be a determining factor in which quarterback earns No. 2 job behind Carr

Saturday is a big night for Connor Cook and E.J. Manuel.

The two Raiders quarterbacks are in a duel for the No. 2 role behind starter Derek Carr, and one of them can take a big step forward with a good game against the Cowboys in Texas, the Raiders’ third exhibition game.

Manuel, the former Buffalo Bills starter brought in this offseason to compete with Cook – starting his second season – had a better first game. Cook then outshined Manuel in Game No. 2.

Through two preseason games, Manuel is 13-of-21 for 123 yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions and a quarterback rating of 78.1. Cook is 19-of-36 for 165 yards, one TD, no interceptions and a rating of 74.4.

After completing 10-of-12 passes in his first game, Manuel was just 3-of-9 for 16 yards in Game 2. Cook was 9-of-15 for 83 yards in his second game.

Said head coach Jack Del Rio after last week’s game vs. the Rams: “I thought he (Cook) played better than E.J. They’re obviously in a battle for the backup spot and I think Connor was better in the backup role. Either one of them weren’t as sharp as they were the first time out. So there are a lot of different factors that go into it, but I thought Connor played well tonight.”

How Cook and Manuel perform in Game No. 3 could be a deciding factor in which player starts the season as Carr’s primary backup.

“It’s a great competition,” offensive coordinator Todd Downing told Raiders.com this week. “The cool thing is both those guys have approached it with such great attitude. They’ve both taken strides and at times one guy has taken a bigger stride than the other, but they both have progressed so much in this offseason, this camp. It’s going to be fun to see how it goes down the stretch here.”

Saturday’s kickoff is set for 5 p.m.

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