This year could turn out to be pivotal for Derek Carr. The Las Vegas Raiders quarterback only has two years left on his contract. A big season from him and a playoff berth would almost ensure that he receives a hefty extension. However, another season that ends in failure could lead the team to search for other options.
Carr has been the subject of criticism from many fans and analysts over the years but the tides are starting to turn. He played really well last year and it’s hard to argue that he’s not a 10 to 15 quarterback in the NFL. While there are still detractors out there, he has a lot of respect around the league. The Raiders are facing the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1 and they know they won’t have an easy time containing Carr. Six-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Calais Campbell revealed some very strong thoughts on the quarterback heading into the matchup.
“Derek Carr is one of those guys who can make every throw,” Campbell said, via Raiders.com. “He’s had some brilliant moments in this league. … His ability in the play-action game, he knows how to get the ball to his weapons and how to make plays. He’s a great quarterback. It’s going to be a great challenge.”
Carr isn’t the type who can elevate a poor supporting cast but he can do a lot as long as he has a couple of weapons. The Raiders may have their strongest offensive personnel since Carr almost won the MVP in 2016. If some of the young players step up, he could have his biggest year yet.
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Justin Houston Praises Carr
There’s one player on the Ravens who should be very familiar with Carr. Pass rusher Justin Houston spent the first eight years of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs. During that time, he faced Carr twice a season for five years. Despite being former rivals, Houston had some kind words for the quarterback.
“I think he’s a very smart quarterback,” Houston said. “He’s very talented, he can make every throw. He’s a veteran quarterback now.”
Is Carr in for a Career Year?
After last season, it’s clear that Carr still has what it takes to be a franchise quarterback. Can he carry a team like Andrew Luck or Aaron Rodgers have done in the past? No, but he could lead a solid supporting cast to a lot of wins.
Whether or not Carr has a career year could hinge on the offensive line. The Raiders are introducing three new starters to the group. Two of them – right tackle Alex Leatherwood and center Andre James – have a combined one NFL start. If the group can mesh quickly and keep Carr clean, there’s no reason to believe he can’t at least replicate last year’s success. Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards should be better this year so he’s got solid weapons. It just comes down to how well his new-look offensive line plays.