With the NFL Combine underway, Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr figures to be a hot topic. Teams are reportedly planning on inquiring about the quarterback and anytime the Raiders talk with a quarterback prospect, it’s immediately going to turn into a Carr story. General manager Mike Mayock had a chance to talk to the media on Thursday and leveled some pretty high praise towards Carr.
“I think everybody needs to understand what level Derek Carr played at last year,” Mayock said. “The guy completed 70% of his passes, he had almost a three-to-one touchdown to interception ratio … we did a lot of really good things on offense last year.”
There have been numerous reports about how the Raiders are preparing to move on from Carr, but Mayock’s words seem to contradict that. However, he still won’t completely rule out a potential move at quarterback.
“Derek Carr played at a high level. I’m very happy with Derek Carr,” he said. “What I’ve told everybody I’ve been in touch with since the day I took this job is we’re going to evaluate every position, every year.”
Carr Runs Jon Gruden’s Offense at a ‘High Level’
The biggest thing working in Carr’s favor is that he’s spent enough time in Jon Gruden’s offense to be able to have a strong grasp of it. Much is made of how difficult it is to learn Gruden’s offense and considering the Raiders appear to be close to making a playoff run, it might be foolish to throw in a new quarterback right now. Mayock was asked about the difficulty of Gruden offense and he was quite blunt.
“We’ve got a quarterback that runs Jon’s offense at a high level,” he said.
While it’s not a big statement from the general manager, it is interesting. Carr’s ability to run Gruden’s offense may just be his saving grace. Mayock clearly thinks that the quarterback is effective in this system. It’s pretty high praise from one of the two men who control Carr’s future with the team.
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Finding a Good Quarterback Isn’t Easy
Another thing that works in Carr’s favor is that finding a good quarterback is really hard and Mayock knows it.
“I think arguably the quarterback position in the NFL is the hardest position to play in any pro sport,” Mayock said. “I believe that, so we spend a lot of time on the college quarterbacks, on the free agent quarterbacks and we’ll always do that – especially with a head coach that’s quarterback-centric.”
Obviously, it’s unlikely that teams like the Kansas City Chiefs or Seattle Seahawks are doing their due diligence on available quarterbacks, but only a handful of teams are very happy with their quarterback situation. Carr isn’t bad, but there’s always a possibility that a better option is on the market or in the draft. The Chiefs had a solid Alex Smith when they drafted Patrick Mahomes and nobody would question that move now. Carr may not like it, but he doesn’t return to his 2016 form soon, he’s probably going to have to deal with his team looking into other quarterback options.