10 Las Vegas Raiders who have something to prove in 2020
QB Derek Carr
How many times have we heard that this is a make or break year for Derek Carr as the starting quarterback of the Raiders? Unfortunately, for many members of Raider Nation, and perhaps fortunately for others, that is definitely the case.
While the pursuit of Tom Brady was more hype than substance, the Raiders did add some competition for Carr in the form of former Tennessee Titan Marcus Mariota.
The Heisman Trophy winner is far behind Carr in nearly every statistical category, but many theorize that he caught Gruden’s eye because of his athleticism and ability to improvise. Gruden famously turned Rich Gannon from journeyman to MVP and Gannon’s running ability and improvisational skills were a huge part of that transformation.
Carr is a better athlete than many give him credit for but he has only rarely shown the ability to hurt defenses with his legs the way Gannon or Mariota have. To put it in perspective, in Gannon’s 74 games with the Raiders he rushed for 1,258 yards compared to just 495 for Carr in 94 games.
Mariota is in another stratosphere, as he rushed for 1,399 yards in just 63 games for Tennessee.
At the end of the day however, quarterbacks are not paid to run the ball, and no matter how good they may be at it, they get paid the big bucks to throw the ball and throw it well. Carr excelled at that in 2019 with career highs in yards and completion percentage and did so with an ever-changing cast of weapons at receiver.
We can only expect for him to improve further with the new weapons around him and the imposing offensive line in front of him.
Speaking of the big bucks, for a blink of an eye, Carr was the highest paid quarterback in the NFL but in terms of total cash in 2020, he is not even in the top-15. The Raiders will be getting above average play from a player that is below average in terms of total compensation at his position.
Unfortunately for Carr, the doubters will always be there no matter how many touchdowns he throws until he leads the Raiders to the playoffs and even wins a game or two there.