After a prolific career with the Green Bay Packers, Jordy Nelson went over to Oakland to play with the Raiders for one season. It was Jon Gruden’s first season back as the head coach and there was a lot of drama. Nelson was able to get a first-hand look at what was going on, specifically with quarterback Derek Carr.
Carr has taken a lot of criticism over the years since his numbers dropped after the 2016 season. Nelson was recently on the Pat McAfee Show and had a chance to defend the Pro Bowl quarterback.
“No, it’s not,” Nelson said when asked if Carr deserved the amount of criticism he gets. “Guy’s extremely smart, very talented, works extremely hard, can make the throws, does it all. I think he’s been in a tough situation. I think similar to what Alex Smith dealt with with the 49ers of just constantly rotating through coaches and offensive coordinators.”
Nelson went on to talk about how the Raiders have had a lot of turnover on offense since Carr became the starter.
Nelson Compares Carr to Aaron Rodgers
If you look at the best quarterbacks in NFL history, many of them have been able to stay in the same offensive system for several years. That hasn’t been the case with Carr. Nelson spent most of his career with the Packers, which has been a very stable franchise over the last few decades.
“You compare that to Aaron [Rodgers] in Green Bay where he was in the same offense for ten plus years, the same receivers that were there for like six, eight years at a time that slowly developed and figured out the system and got that chemistry going … it makes a difference when you’re not able to keep that chemistry from year one to year eight to 10,” Nelson said.
For the first time in his career, Carr will have a third straight year in the same offensive system. 2020 will be a very telling year for the veteran quarterback.
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Nelson Explains Relationship Between Gruden & Carr
It seems like every offseason many in the media suggest that Carr and Gruden don’t get along and that the coach is going to make a move. That has yet to happen and it appears the Raiders trust their quarterback. Nelson dropped some insider information on the relationship between the two men.
“I think their two demeanors and personalities might clash but they honestly get along great,” Nelson said. “I mean, it’s a good balance. There’s a couple of times when I was there they got a little fiery at each other, but you know, that happens with everyone. Especially when you’re coming right off the field. … One thing I think that works great with those two, like I said earlier, Derek is extremely smart and puts in so much time and work that he can handle everything that Gruden’s throwing at him.”
These comments from Nelson echo what tight end Darren Waller said earlier in the offseason. There’s been no indication that the two don’t like each other. If that was the case, Gruden could’ve easily moved on from Carr this offseason. While the two do appear to have a strong relationship, this upcoming season will be very important for Carr. The team has surrounded him with talent and more consistency. It’s time for him to take the offense to the next. level.