Through the first three weeks of the NFL season, the Las Vegas Raiders were likely the most disappointing team in the league. After Week 4, that title should now belong to the Denver Broncos. They still have a better record (2-2) than the Raiders (1-3) but the latter has played a tougher schedule and just beat the former by a score of 32 to 23.
A major reason for the Broncos’ disappointing start has centered around quarterback Russell Wilson. The team traded a haul to the Seattle Seahawks to land Wilson and handed him a five-year contract extension. After four games, he has not looked like a star quarterback and the Broncos are only averaging 16.5 points a game, which is the fourth worst in the NFL.
Wilson has better stats than Derek Carr in Week 4. He threw for 237 yards and two touchdowns while the Raiders quarterback threw for 188 yards and no touchdowns. However, Carr won the game and has generally looked better than Wilson this season. There was concern that the nine-time Pro Bowler wasn’t the same player that led the Seahawks to a Super Bowl and those concerns are becoming more prominent. The Atheltic’s Vic Tafur went so far as to declare that Carr is definitively better.
“We can probably put to bed the whole Russell Wilson, Derek Carr debate,” Tafur said on Sunday’s “State of the Nation” podcast, via Raiders Beat. “I think Derek Carr is clearly a better quarterback at this point. I think that debate has been put to bed.”
Too Early for Debate to Be Settled
Tafur is quite low on Wilson and there are plenty of others who believe the quarterback is passed his prime. However, it’s likely early to declare that Carr is the better quarterback. Neither player has been playing their best football this season. Josh McDaniels hasn’t looked like a great head coach yet but he’s at least a proven playcaller. Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett looks in over his head and could feasibly get fired after one season if Denver’s offense continues to be among the NFL’s worst.
Wilson isn’t Peyton Manning. He’s not a quarterback who can control the offense and hide flaws in his coaching staff. Carr looks like the better quarterback right now but Wilson has plenty of time to figure things out. If he doesn’t, it’s going to be a long seven years in Denver.
Win Validates McDaniels, Says Carr
McDaniels hasn’t been without his flaws to start the season but there’s still confidence that he’ll figure things out. Most in the media believe the Broncos have a better roster than the Raiders but the latter just proved they are the better team. McDaniels’ abilities as a head coach have come into question after the 0-3 start but Carr believes that finally picking up a win validates the coach.
“I think for him, he’s trying to preach the right thing,” Carr said after Sunday’s win. “He’s trying to teach us how to do it and the way that he’s seen success. I think now it validates some of the things he emphasized, and I would let him talk about what he emphasized. But the things he emphasized in the game, we did it in practice and then we did it in the game, and we won. I think it validates it for him. I didn’t even think about it being against his former team, but I gave him the ball at the end. I kept that for him and I said, ‘I know that you got a lot of wins at the other place, but it’s your first one here.’ I was able to do that, and that was a special moment for me to be able to hand that to him.”