It didn’t take long for rumors of Jon Gruden wanting to move on from Derek Carr after the Oakland Raiders lost four straight games. The team got back into the win column on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers and if they win once again to close out the season, things could get really interesting for the Raiders quarterback.
Gruden has always said the right things when talking about Carr. He’s criticized him in the past but has also spent a lot of time praising and defending him. It’s hard to know exactly what’s going on in the coach’s mind and anybody who says they know is probably just guessing. On Monday, Gruden was asked if it was going to be difficult to evaluate Carr since the team has dealt with so much turnover all over the offense.
“Not hard,” Gruden said. “We’ve spent a lot of time together. He’s done a lot of good things. I know there’s a lot of swirling reports out there [of a disconnect] but Derek’s done a great job. He’s done a heck of a job for us.”
It’s interesting that Gruden addressed the reports that he is getting ready to move on from Carr. His comments don’t directly deny that the reports are true, but his tone and the following praise for the quarterback makes it seem like he’s happy with Carr.
Will Playoff Appearance Silence Rumors?
Derek Carr has looked excellent at times this season and he was almost perfect against the Chargers. Another performance like in cold weather against the Denver Broncos could do a lot for his future with the team. The Raiders have a shot at the playoffs if they win on Sunday and some things happen. However, unless Oakland somehow shocks the world, gets to the playoffs and wins a game, then the Carr rumors are going to persist throughout the spring and summer.
Those who are calling for Carr to get cut loose have to remember the implications of such a move. Armed with cap space and two first-round picks, the Raiders are in a really good position to go on a playoff run in 2020. If the team simply trades or cuts Carr, their chances of going to the playoffs decrease significantly. Gruden’s offense is apparently very difficult for a quarterback to learn. Throwing a rookie into that situation could have serious growing pains.
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Ravens May Have Killed Raiders’ Shot
For a second, it looked like the Raiders could actually sneak into the playoffs. While it’s still very possible, things just got a lot more daunting for Oakland thanks to the Baltimore Ravens. Head coach John Harbaugh announced on Monday that his team will be sitting key starters Lamar Jackson, Marshal Yanda, Brandon Williams, Mark Ingram and Earl Thomas. They’ve already clinched the number one seed in the AFC, so there’s really no reason to play them.
This affects the Raiders because the Ravens are playing the Steelers. Oakland needs a Pittsburgh loss to get into the playoffs and there’s no way around it. All that said, it’s not a forgone conclusion the Steelers are going to win. Mason Rudolph isn’t going to play and Duck Hodges has been really bad recently. Regardless, the Raiders are going to need a miracle in Week 17.