The Oakland Raiders have gotten off to a 1-2 start to the 2019 NFL season, and a lot of the blame has been cast on quarterback Derek Carr.
The Oakland Raiders selected Derek Carr in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, and since then, he has pretty much seen it all as the starting quarterback for the team. Since starting from Day 1 as a rookie, Carr has been through a ton of head coaches, offensive coordinators, and player personnel, including the team getting rid of a generational talent in Khalil Mack.
Through it all, Carr has been a constant for the Raiders, playing through injuries, and shouldering the blame for every loss. No matter how he played, there were fans out there ready to turn the page, and that has continued through the first three weeks of the 2019 season.
Before the season started, people were clamoring for the Raiders to use one of their three 2019 draft picks on the quarterback position, stating the team needs to move on from him. Carr, who just broke Ken Stabler‘s record for all-time passing yards, and is still only 28-years old, kept his head down through all of it, earning the respect of his coaches, and his teammates.
With head coach Jon Gruden standing behind his quarterback through all the noise, the Raiders had to deal with a devastating loss right before the season opened, as star wide receiver Antonio Brown was released. One of the better players in all of football, Brown was supposed to be the focal point of the Raiders offense, and without him, the team has had to regroup.
In addition to losing Brown, J.J. Nelson has been dealing with injuries, Ryan Grant has unperformed, and has since been let go, and rookie running back Josh Jacobs, while outstanding, has also been dealing with a sickness. In addition, both starting guards were out the first two weeks of the season, with Richie Incognito returning this past Sunday.
Despite all of this, it is still seemingly all of Carr’s fault, and Gruden was asked about his quarterback on Wednesday. In true Gruden fashion, he stood behind Carr, stating that Derek had been doing some good things, and that he was not going to put it all on his quarterback.
That is how we should all be looking at it. Sure, he did not take many shots downfield on Sunday, and the offense has been pedestrian since the first quarter of the Chiefs game, but it is not time to abandon the ship. The Colts game is a very winnable game, especially with so many key players out, and the Raiders are a young team.
I understand the rhetoric that Carr is in his sixth season, and he should be more along by now. That would be true if he was in a better situation throughout his six years. This is a guy who has had the same offensive coordinator in back-to-back seasons only one other time since he got here, and has had to deal with a revolving door at head coach.
Gruden is in year 2 of a ten-year deal, and Carr is still under contract until through the 2022 season. While the team could move on from him, as the financial responsibility is minimal after this season, let us pump the breaks and let this season develop a bit.
The road is tough for the Raiders, as they have the hardest schedule in football, and will not return to RingCentral Coliseum until November. This is a very young team, one of the youngest in the league, and Carr is the kind of leader this team needs right now.
After their solid win against Denver in Week 1, the Raiders have faced two of the better teams in the NFL the past two weeks, with one being on the road. There has been a lot for this team to overcome already through the first month of the 2019 NFL season, but they have formed a united front, and the fans should too.