With a new off-season in the midst, the same topic for years now is upon us, that being what should the Raiders do with Derek Carr.
Apparently six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady is on the market, as well as promising quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and a slew of different names, but you really have to ask yourself would these guys truly be an improvement at quarterback for the Las Vegas Raiders?
With a three-win improvement over the season before and numbers that would state Derek Carr is a good quarterback, Raiders fans have poured in doves to demand change at the position. Most fans will point to Carr’s 39-55 record, his inability to consistently go deep down field or even question his toughness by saying he’s scared to get hit, but you have to take a look at the big picture here and see the dysfunction within this franchise.
Head coach Jon Gruden was brought back in 2018 to resurrect this franchise. The former Raiders head coach was actually the last true successful coach the franchise had known, despite this being ten years prior. Gruden runs a west coast offense, which calls for short quick pass plays with very little deep ball plays called.
It’s a complex system which Carr has improved upon. Completing 70% of his passes, throwing for 4,054 yard and 21 touchdowns last season, the numbers indicate Carr is picking it up. Raider Nation seems to think otherwise.
Rich Gannon, a former MVP and quarterback who led the Raiders to their last Super Bowl appearance, a loss to Gruden then coaching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was in not just system that was tailor made to his talents, but he had two wide receivers who would end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Jerry Rice and Tim Brown may have been up there in age, but like Gannon, they were perfect for the offense, and were extremely productive. Carr has had some notable targets along the way as well, be it Amari Cooper or Michael Crabtree, and when he had these targets, he did see some success, but even with these two, could you really say he had elite targets?
Fast forward to the 2019 season, Carr in his sixth season and is now under his fourth head coach in Gruden. In addition, the off-season started with some fireworks, starting with Antonio Brown, one of the best receivers in the NFL. Expectations for the team were through the roof and Carr was looking to replicate his 2016 season, which despite being cut short due to injury, led to a playoff appearance for the Raiders.
What would conclude in one of the strangest saga’s in the history of the team, Brown’s strange outbursts and behavior would lead to him being cut before the regular season even began. That left Carr’s top targets to be free agent acquisition Tyrell Williams, who was the third target for the Los Angeles Chargers the season prior, a rookie in slot receiver Hunter Renfrow, and an unproven tight end in Darren Waller.
With these unproven targets I would say the numbers Carr was able to put up are more than solid.
Now I know numbers mean nothing, and everything depends on what is in the win column, but with a new offense to learn virtually every season, and not to mention one of the worst defenses nearly every season, how much success can anyone expect Carr to really have with the Raiders?
Las Vegas will be a new beginning for the Raiders, with a new town and stadium, and not to mention ample cap space with two first-round picks to boot. The Raiders are in place to build a serious contender and change the culture in which losing has become customary. Whether you agree with this or not, the Raiders should NOT move on from Derek Carr.
This is the first chance he really has with some familiarity and a chance to add some adequate targets. He’s in the prime of his career going on 29-years old, why would the Raiders decide to move on from him and add an aging expensive quarterback in Tom Brady, who is declining and going on 43-years old.
Teddy Bridgewater had some success in New Orleans, but lets be honest here, there is no Michael Thomas at wide receiver in Vegas.
Derek Carr deserves at least the 2020 NFL season to succeed in Las Vegas, and I know everyone is desperate to win, but what is out there is not an improvement. Gruden needs to open the playbook a bit and let Carr go deep downfield, and also whether through the draft or free agency, add some legitimate talent to throw to. Although there is some interest apparently in adding Tom Brady, and whether it comes to fruition or not, be careful what you wish for Raider Nation.