Who would’ve thought that having four different offensive coordinators in a five year period might affect how a quarterback performs?
It was a tough offseason for Oakland Raiders starting quarterback Derek Carr. There was rumor after rumor about how Jon Gruden wasn’t sold on him and that the team was going to draft a quarterback. It almost seemed like a foregone conclusion before the draft. Oakland ended up sticking with him and it’s starting to look like that move paid off. After his impressive come-from-behind win over the Detroit Lions, Gruden gave the quarterback some massive praise:
I think he’s a coach on the field instead of a player on the field. He was learning a new offense last year, he was playing. We had two rookie tackles. We had a lot of issues, a lot of injuries, a lot of problems last year. Now he’s coaching. He sees it before it happens. He’s as good a coach as we have on our staff. He’s really a heady player, he’s got incredible arm talent, we know that. But I think his ownership of the offense, his leadership, his coach on the field demeanor is important with this young group that we have. He made some plays yesterday scrambling that are signature plays. The touchdown to Renfrow, the bad snap, getting out of trouble and throwing that ball away saved us three points there. Doing a lot of things at a high level.
Some analysts thought that Gruden didn’t like Carr and never praised him. Well, the above quote is some of the highest praise a coach can give a quarterback.
Vintage Derek Carr
Carr was very deserving of praise for his performance against the Lions, especially late. He made some really impressive throws that were reminiscent of his 2016 season. It’s easy to forget just how well Carr can play because of how lackluster the last two seasons went for him. That being said, he is a three-time pro bowl quarterback, who almost won an MVP award not that long ago.
His 2019 season hasn’t been to the same level as his 2016 one, but his last two performances would indicate that he’s flipped a switch and is ready to start putting up big numbers. According to Pro Football Focus, Carr was the highest-graded Raiders from Week 9.
When he’s surrounded by talent, Carr can be one of the best quarterbacks around. He’s not Aaron Rodgers, he’s not going to singlehandedly win games with a bunch of backups. If he can be protected and has some weapons around him, he can be elite.
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Carr Will Be the QB in Las Vegas
The season is halfway over for the Raiders so plenty can still happen. That being said, Derek Carr is going to be the team’s quarterback when they move to Las Vegas in 2020. He’s done enough to prove that he can be the team’s quarterback of the future. The 2020 quarterback class isn’t all that impressive and the Raiders aren’t going to have a top-five pick, anyway. It wouldn’t make any sense to invest major capital into an unproven rookie when Carr has shown that he can be one of the better quarterbacks in the league.
Carr is always going to have his supporters and detractors unless he wins a Super Bowl. He’s earned the right to lead the team to Vegas. If he keeps playing like he has and leads the team to the playoffs, he could sneak his way into the MVP conversation once again.