Oakland Raiders vs. Baltimore Ravens: 5 Players to Watch

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Derek Carr

August 30, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) passes the football against Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (97) during the first quarter in a preseason NFL football game at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Picking Derek Carr as a player to watch might be a gimme, but he’ll be the most important player on the roster this Sunday.

Heading into his sophomore season, a lot of hope for the future rests on the shoulders of Carr. The team desperately needs him to take a step forward and prove that he can be the long-term solution at QB.

Carr’s preseason was relatively average, and he was shaky at best in the regular season opener. So this season’s campaign to prove that he can be the franchise quarterback is off to a rocky start.

On top of that, he banged up his throwing hand last Sunday when he attempted a stiff arm at the helmet of Pacman Jones, when the smart thing to do would have been to slide or get out of bounds.

Carr should be at 100% come Sunday, but his accuracy would be affected if he’s still experiencing some soreness, and it would be another long Sunday if that was the case.

If Carr is 100% though, the offense has to show some signs of life. Carr developing a connection with Amari Cooper will go a long way in helping the offense to get going, especially early in the game.

Moving the chains and putting points on the board in the first few drives will help the team avoid an early deficit, which will allow the offense to stay balanced.

If not, the team will be down early and forced to abandon the run. If that happens, Carr will be relied upon even more heavily. So no matter how you look at it, Carr will be the most important player on the field for the Raiders.

Next: Player #2 to Watch: Justin Forsett