Once again, the Las Vegas Raiders were mentioned in a number of quarterback rumors this offseason. Throughout Jon Gruden’s tenure with the team, it’s been speculated that the Raiders are going to eventually make a change at quarterback. That hasn’t happened and the team hasn’t even used a draft pick on the position.
Derek Carr is coming off his best season as a professional and Gruden has sung his praises quite a bit. The coach has been surprisingly quiet this offseason but finally spoke about the offseason to The Raiders Report. In the interview, Gruden had some very strong thoughts on his quarterback.
“Derek is very underestimated,” Gruden said. “He doesn’t get much credit for how good he’s playing, but he completes a lot of passes. He changes plays at the line of scrimmage. He’s starting to make more and more plays with his legs now.”
Carr was arguably a top-10 quarterback in the NFL last season but still gets disrespected in the media. Gruden clearly believes in him and if he has another good season, he could be in for a contract extension.
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Gruden Addresses 17 Game Season
The 2021 season represents a major shift for the NFL. Instead of playing 16 games, teams will now play 17 games. It might not seem like a huge change but that extra game could end up meaning a lot. Gruden thought the seasons were already a bit long.
“That’s going to be interesting,” Gruden said. “The season was long to start with — 16 games. And now you’re playing 17 regular-season games, and if you qualify for the tournament, it’s a really long season. So guys … that are in [their] 10th year, we might treat you a little differently than Alex Leatherwood and [Trevon] Moehrig and some of these rookies coming in here. You’re going to have to really push some of these rookies, because it’s an eye-opener for a young player, the length of the season.”
It will be very interesting to see how teams attack the new season length. It’s possible there could be some type of load management for veteran players that are used at a high rate.
Is Gruden on the Hot Seat?
Gruden is headed into his fourth year as the Raiders’ coach and has yet to make the playoffs. He’s the only coach in the NFL right now to go three straight years without a playoff berth and still have his job. As of right now, his seat is likely still pretty cold. Owner Mark Davis is the only guy who can fire Gruden and he’s a massive fan of the coach.
There will be other fall guys if the Raiders lose this season. Carr and general manager Mike Mayock will be shown the door before Gruden gets the ax. However, Gruden will start feeling the heat if the Raiders miss the playoffs once again. Davis can only stand for so much mediocrity. He will eventually turn on the coach if he keeps losing but Gruden’s leash is still pretty long.