Out of all the wide receivers that Derek Carr has played with throughout his NFL career, he had the best connection with Michael Crabtree. In his three seasons with the team, Crabtree caught 232 passes for 2,543 and 25 touchdowns. Carr has yet to have as consistent success with any other Raiders wide receiver.
Crabtree was an important part of the last Raiders team that made the playoffs in 2016. Once Jon Gruden took over the team, they moved on from the wide receiver. However, Crabtree still has a lot of love for the team. He revealed that his stint with the Raiders was the “most fun and freedom” he ever had during his playing career. He also shouted out former offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.
Those Raiders teams were a lot of fun to watch. Carr played at a Pro Bowl level in 2015 and 2016 and it looked like brighter days ahead for the silver and black. That 2016 team was easily the best Raiders team since 2002. Unfortunately, the good times didn’t last long.
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Poor Decisions Derailed Raiders
After the 2016 season ended in disappointment due to Carr suffering a broken leg, there was a lot of hype surrounding the Raiders heading into 2017. They were a hot Super Bowl pick as Carr was ascending and just got a big contract. However, former head coach Jack Del Rio made his worst decision as the team’s coach that offseason.
He decided to move on from Musgrave as offensive coordinator and promoted quarterback coach Todd Downing. Downing had done an excellent job with Carr so it didn’t seem like a bad call at the time. Unfortunately, the Raiders’ elite offense took a major dip in 2017. Instead of making a deep playoff run, the team went 6-10 and Del Rio was fired after the season. Some fans believe that had Musgrave been retained as offensive coordinator, the Raiders’ fortunes would’ve been very different. Musgrave hasn’t had much success elsewhere so that might not be the case but it’s hard not to speculate that the silver and black would’ve been better off with him running the offense.
How Far Are the Raiders From Making the Playoffs?
The Jon Gruden experiment hasn’t gotten off to a good start for the Raiders so far. It only took Del Rio one year before getting the team in the playoffs. Gruden has had three years and has yet to even get the team to a winning record.
It’s impossible to know when the Raiders might get back into the playoffs. In the last two seasons, the team was on pace to make the playoffs after 10 games. Both years, the team fell apart and ended up missing the postseason. No matter what the Raiders do in the draft or free agency, it’s hard to predict them getting back into the playoffs. Gruden and company will have to prove that they can avoid another late-season collapse before people begin to trust them.