Derek Carr impressed a lot of people last season when he led the Las Vegas Raiders to the playoffs despite organizational chaos. The team rewarded him with a three-year contract extension worth $121.5 million this offseason. They also gave him a superstar wide receiver to throw to when they traded for Davante Adams.
The early returns haven’t been great as Carr only has nine touchdown passes to five interceptions through seven games and the Raiders are 2-5. There is a way for the team to get out of his contract once the season ends and that’s seeming more possible each week. That said, he still has 10 games to turn things around and prove that he belongs. General manager Dave Ziegler hasn’t said much since the season started but he decided to come out and offer support to the quarterback.
“From the mental side of it — very smart,” Ziegler said of Carr Wednesday. “Picked up the system, learned the system well. and he’s continued to grow into the system. And I think that there’s a natural progression to that. And I think he’s made steady progress in terms of learning the system, learning the checks, being comfortable with the reads, and I think he’s done a good job. He competes very hard. And I think he’s done a lot of good things. I think he’s improved as the season’s [gone] on.
“We have to help the quarterback, too. We have to be able to get open. Like we’ve talked about, we have to have good protection. Whether it’s him or another player, they all need to continue to work to improve. But I think Derek’s done a good job. I think he’s done a good job leading the team. I think he’s done a good job managing the game. And like I said, with him and every other player, we want to see continued improvement.”
What Will It Take for Raiders to Sour on Carr?
The Week 8 shoutout loss to the New Orleans Saints was one of the most lackluster performances of Carr’s career. Despite having weapons everywhere, he only threw for 101 yards and never took the Raiders into Saints territory. It was not an inspiring performance from the franchise quarterback.
For the most part, Carr has played decently well this season but hasn’t reached the heights expected of him after the team traded for Adams. Unless he starts to live up to expectations soon, the Raiders could seriously consider drafting his replacement. He’ll likely still be the starting quarterback next season but he could have a rookie nipping at his heels if he doesn’t improve.
Ziegler Says Fan Frustration Is Warranted
The Raiders went on a stunning playoff run last season and the hope was that Ziegler and Josh McDaniels would turn the team into consistent winners. So far, the team looks much worse than it did last year. Fans have been patient with the team for two decades now but that patience is wearing thin. Ziegler understands why fans feel the way that they do.
“The frustration of the fan base is totally warranted,” Ziegler said. “And I can appreciate their passion. And for me and for Josh and the organization, there’s nothing more that we want than to win football games and to see this fan base get what they deserve, which is a consistent winner.”