It’s a new era for the Las Vegas Raiders. Fortunately, it’s gotten off a good start. In the first game without head coach Jon Gruden, the silver and black pulled off a dominant 34-24 win over the Denver Broncos. Everybody knows that Gruden was the man in charge on offense so the team’s offensive performance was very impressive.
Derek Carr started off the season as an MVP candidate after leading the Raiders to a 3-0 start. He didn’t play as well in the team’s last two games which resulted in losses. He bounced back in a major way against the Broncos, throwing for 341 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. With that performance, Carr should be inserted right back into the MVP conversation.
Though the Raiders are back in the win column, the quarterback made it clear that the team isn’t getting content right now. He made sure to let the fan base know that the job is “not finished.”
It’s far too early in the season for the Raiders to get too high on themselves. We’ve seen the team start off hot in each of the last two seasons. This year, they have to learn to be more consistent throughout the entire year. Perhaps Rich Bisaccia replacing Gruden is exactly what the team needed.
ALL the latest Raiders news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Raiders newsletter here!
Carr Praises Offensive Line
Prior to this week, the Raiders offensive line has been a mess. Carr was sacked 15 times through five games. The team recently tried to switch things up by moving Alex Leatherwood to right guard and Brandon Parker to right tackle. That didn’t work out well last week against the Bears but appeared to work much better against the Broncos. Carr was impressed with how the group played.
“I thought they did a great job. I think we had two sacks, but I think they were my fault for running [for] zero yards; it wasn’t on them,” Carr said after the game. “Especially against that front – Von Miller is God’s gift to earth of pass rushing. … It’s impressive that [the O-line was] able to do what they did this week. We keep that up, hopefully, we can build on what they were able to do this week and if we can do that, hopefully, have more success.”
As Carr noted, the offensive line did give up two sacks but the protection was clearly better for most of the game. The Broncos’ defensive line isn’t great this year but it’s still a step in the right direction for the Raiders.
Can Carr Win MVP This Season?
While Gruden resigning in the middle of the season is a blow to the Raiders, it could seriously help Carr’s MVP chances. The quarterback now has a ton of ownership in the team’s offense. If he leads this team to the playoffs, he should be squarely in the MVP race.
There aren’t many quarterbacks in the NFL that will have as much control over their offense as Carr will with the Raiders. Gruden gave him a lot of freedom to run the plays he wanted and now he’ll have even more power. If the Raiders’ offense keeps playing as it did against the Broncos, Carr will deserve a lot of credit for that.
READ NEXT: Mark Davis Believes NFL Is ‘out to Get’ Raiders: Report