After six years in the NFL, Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has earned a reputation of being one of the nice guys. He doesn’t cuss, he leads church services and he’s never involved with any off the field incidents. Whether or not that nice guy persona has worked out for him is up for debate. Carr has only one winning season out of six years and is coming off his third losing season in a row.
He’s now joined by Marcus Mariota in the quarterback room, who is also considered one of the nicer guys in the NFL. In a wide-ranging interview with The Athletic’s Vic Tafur, Carr had a chance to talk about Mariota and suggested he might be getting a little more of an edge.
“Oh, yeah, we are too nice, very politically correct. All those kinds of things … but I’m done with the politically correct stuff. I guess I’m getting a little old and grumpy.”
The Raiders gave Mariota an interesting contract that gives him a lot of incentive to try and beat out Carr for the starting job. Tafur asked Carr about Mariota gunning for him and he’s not worried about it.
“I gotta be honest with you, it doesn’t even bother me one bit,” Carr said. “And that is being completely true to myself. No one outside of who I am is going to push me harder than me. Like, I always encourage guys to go ahead and wake up when I wake up, study how much I study, work hard like I work hard. I’m not the least bit looking to my left or to my right when I’m doing a rep, I’m focused on me.”
Carr Sounds off on QB Rumors
Despite showing improvement in his second year under Jon Gruden, Carr was still the subject of many quarterback rumors. However, he didn’t believe for a second that he was not going to be wearing silver and black in 2020.
“No. And I say no without getting into too much detail,” Carr said when asked if he thought he could lose his job. “I knew some of the things that were going to be said and I knew some of the things that were going to be thrown out by the media. I knew a lot of those things. And then I’d wake up in the morning and those things would happen. And, I would just laugh.”
Perhaps the most intriguing thing that happened in the offseason that suggested the Raiders might make a move is when Tom Brady was seen with Mark Davis at a UFC fight. Carr knew that would turn into a big story when he saw the picture and understood why his team might at least take a look at the future Hall of Famer.
“Yeah, let’s be honest, the dude has won six Super Bowls,” Carr said about Brady. “You have to be crazy to not watch his film and talk about it when he is a free agent. Right? You’re going to watch film of Tom Brady. Like, where’s he at?”
In the end, reports suggested that the Raiders weren’t too serious about going after Brady. That’s a good sign for Carr and the team didn’t even draft a quarterback this year. Gruden and Mike Mayock are clearly going all-in on Carr for 2020 and it’s up to him to utilize his new weapons.
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Carr Talks ‘Checkdown’ Criticisms
Back in 2016, Carr looked like he was going to be a star for a long time. He got MVP votes and led the Raiders back to the playoffs before getting injured. Unfortunately, he hasn’t recaptured the magic. One of the biggest knocks on him is that he doesn’t stretch the field very often. Tafur asked him about his proclivity to “checkdown” and Carr wasn’t having it.
“I also love when people say that we only throw checkdowns to Jalen Richard,” Carr said. “But those are called plays for Jalen Richard. You know?! These are plays where we are only running routes to get him the ball. Our yards per attempt and completion are super high and they are only going to get higher and grow higher as we’re adding speed and versatility on our offense. It’s only gonna get better.”
Carr has a big arm and is very accurate on deep-ball passes. Now that he has a player like Henry Ruggs to stretch the field with, perhaps he can erase the narrative that he likes to checkdown too much. Tafur and Carr covered a lot of ground in the exclusive interview and is certainly worth a read.