It was an uneven season for the Las Vegas Raiders as a team. They started off the season 6-3 with marquee wins over the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns. Unfortunately, things got really bad for the team as they went 2-5 down the stretch and finished with an 8-8 record.
While the Raiders have a lot of issues, they appear to have the quarterback position set. Derek Carr had a very strong year. He threw for 4,103 yards and 27 touchdowns while rushing for an additional three touchdowns. He has taken a beating in the media for the last few years but he’s finally getting some respect. In Pro Football Focus‘ quarterback rankings, Carr was ranked as the eighth-best quarterback in the NFL:
We suggested that Carr could benefit from a more aggressive style before the start of the 2020 season, and that’s precisely what happened in 2020. He increased his average depth of target from 6.9 yards to 9.1, and we saw 20 more big-time throws against just six more turnover-worthy plays. Carr posted his best passing grade since 2016, and the Raiders’ offense developed into one of the league’s best.
ALL the latest Raiders news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Raiders newsletter here!
Carr Will Be Raiders’ QB in 2021
Until Carr wins a playoff game, Raiders fans are going to be very mixed on the quarterback. While he’s clearly played well, he hasn’t done enough to get the team over the hump. Obviously, that not all on Carr. The Raiders have fielded a terrible defense throughout most of his career.
Carr is certainly not a problem and it’s highly unlikely he’s going anywhere right now. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported recently that the plan to stick with the quarterback for 2021. Barring anything unexpected, there’s no reason to believe Carr is getting moved. The Raiders have the 17th pick in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft, which is too low to get one of the top quarterback prospects. Also, a Deshaun Watson trade just isn’t going to happen. The Raiders need to fix their defense before they even think about shaking things up at quarterback.
Carr Needs to Hit Another Level Next Season
Carr was very good last season but it’s still possible he can hit another level. He led the NFL with 11 fumbles, eight of which he lost. He’s always had a hard time holding onto the ball when he gets hit. He needs to fix that issue in the offseason. Carr doesn’t throw a ton of interceptions. He threw eight last season and nine this season. If he can fix his fumbling issue, he’s not going to turn the ball over very often.
Carr showed major progress in 2020 and proved that he can still sling the ball downfield. He did it with a banged-up offensive line and his best wide receiver was Nelson Agholor. He’s gotten better each year he’s played under Jon Gruden and there’s no reason to think that he won’t be even better in 2021.