It shouldn’t have been a surprise for many but Derek Carr had a great game for the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday. He didn’t put up insane numbers but he was close to perfect on the day. Much has been made about how Carr and Jon Gruden apparently don’t get along but the two seem just fine.
There are even those who have suggested that Marcus Mariota is being groomed to take the starting job at some point. Well, Gruden made it pretty clear that isn’t going to happen. He, unprompted, went out of his way to praise the quarterback.
“You gotta changes your snap count, you gotta change your audibles, you gotta change your hand signals but we’re not changing quarterbacks,” Gruden said Monday. “Derek played great. Derek Carr played a super game [Sunday]. No sacks, no interceptions, 34 points … did a great job throwing the ball accurately … made some great plays for us.”
Gruden has been quick to praise Carr in the past but this some of the strongest he’s ever leveled at the quarterback.
Carr in for a Big Year
For the first time in his career, Carr is in the same offense for the third year in a row. It looked like that was the case on Sunday as he had command of the offense and made some really pretty passes. What was most exciting is that he hit some deep ball, as well. He’s been criticized a lot in the past for not airing out the ball but he now has a deep threat in Henry Ruggs.
The rookie wide receiver should do wonders for Carr who actually has an underrated arm. If he keeps playing as he did against the Panthers, Carr should head into the offseason without many rumors about how the Raiders are moving on from him. It’s just one game in a long season but the signs are really positive.
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Does Gruden Truly Believe in Carr?
Despite the praise from Gruden, there will probably be those who suggest that the two don’t get along. At this point, that narrative seems ridiculous. The Raiders have had ample opportunity to add a new starting quarterback over the last two years. They’ve passed on strong draft prospects and didn’t take long looks at top free agents.
The decision to give Marcus Mariota a big contract was certainly weird but it’s clear he’s just a backup right now. If Gruden didn’t believe in Carr, he’d be gone. The Raiders could’ve let him go this offseason or last offseason without losing a lot of money but didn’t. They probably could’ve gotten a decent haul in a trade but decided to keep him. Plus, Carr’s numbers have been good under Gruden. No, Carr is not Patrick Mahomes. He’s not that kind of playmaker. However, he is a top-15 quarterback in the NFL and more than capable of leading the team to the playoffs.