For a brief moment, the Las Vegas Raiders were looking like the biggest sleeper of the NFL and Derek Carr was looking like an elite quarterback. One blow out loss to the Atlanta Falcons have made many quickly turn sour on the team. Carr is in a very interesting spot right now.
Through the first 10 games, it looked like he cemented his place as the Raiders’ starting quarterback for years to come. One game doesn’t erase his strong season but he needs to bounce back. Despite Carr having his worst game of the season, head coach Jon Gruden is still confident in his quarterback.
“No,” Gruden said when asked if he was worried about Carr. “This is the National Football League. This is a tough business. He’s been through a lot and he’ll be fine. We just got to regroup, get on the plane, and we got to get ready for the next one.”
It would be incredibly premature to suggest Carr is on the hot seat after one game. He’s proven to have great command of Gruden’s offense and has mostly played at a high level. Every quarterback has off games and Carr is no exception. How he bounces back will define his season.
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Could This Season Make or Break Carr?
Just to make it abundantly clear, Carr is not going to lose his starting job this season. Even if the Raiders lose the rest of their games, he’s not getting benched. However, the last chunk of this season is very important for Carr.
He started off last year strong and then fell apart to end the year. He’s proven time and time again that he can be among the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but if the Raiders finish off 7-9 for the second straight year and he plays poorly, then there will be whispers of the team making a move. If Carr is hoping to keep those rumors at bay, he needs to win and continue to play how he did before the Falcons loss.
Gruden Talks Team’s Mistake
After starting the season playing pretty clean football, the mistakes are starting to pile up for the silver and black. The Raiders had five turnovers and 141 penalty yards against the Falcons.
“I’ll look at the film,” Gruden said. “We had players open. We had opportunities to make plays. I’m not going to sit here and say anything else. We had plenty of opportunities. They made more plays than we did and it snowballed on us today. When you turn the ball over five times and have 120 yards of penalties, you got no chance.”
Las Vegas isn’t going to win a lot of games while making so many mistakes. These issues are correctable but it will be up to Gruden to fix them. If he can’t, then it’s fair to start questioning if the Raiders have reached their ceiling with the coach. The team has enough talent to make a playoff push and can’t let the wheels fall off this early in the season.