Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is playing at a very high level and is finally getting the respect he deserves in Year 8.
Every offseason, rumors of trades and replacements swirl around the Las Vegas Raiders eighth-year captain and signal-caller Derek Carr. Questions from the National Media would ring loudly about how committed to his quarterback Jon Gruden really is and if Derek Carr is the future of the Las Vegas franchise?
As the Raiders sit atop of the AFC, it is evident that Carr is playing some of the best football of his life, as his 817 yards passing leads the NFL by a large margin, and has set the Raiders franchise record for passing in the first two games of the season. What is more impressive about Derek Carr’s stats is his poise and command on the field.
Carr looks more comfortable in his role two games into the 2021 season than he has ever looked in his eight-year career, including his impressive 2016 campaign that led to the Raiders’ first playoff berth in 14 years, and put him third in voting for NFL MVP.
Questions around toughness
Oftentimes, Carr’s toughness and durability were called to question; after fracturing his leg on Christmas Eve late in the game against the Colts, many believed that Carr was “playing scared” and was afraid to get hurt. The leg injury wasn’t the first in Carr’s career, and it wasn’t the last, with Carr returning in 2017 and fracturing his vertebrae vs the Denver Broncos.
He returned one week later even though it was reported that he would miss up to six weeks, as he finished the season only missing one game.
After pulling his groin on a Thursday night game last season, Carr returned the following week against the Dolphins to throw for 336 yards and one touchdown in a devastating one-point loss. That game was highlight by Arden Key committing a costly facemask penalty on Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, allowing Miami to move into field goal range and secure the win.
In Week 2 of the 2021 season, Carr was hit late by the Steelers and went down with an apparent leg injury. Carr limped off the field and returned to defeat the Steelers putting up a total of 382 yards and two touchdowns, including a beautiful 61-yard bomb to second-year speedster Henry Ruggs III.
Are the Raiders for real?
Two games into the 2021 season and the Raiders are generating a buzz after beating the Ravens and the Steelers, both playoff teams from 2020 in games that the Raiders were heavily favored to lose. For years, Carr loyalists screamed, “get him a defense” and the Raiders listened, enlisting Gus Bradley and a barrage of key free agents to transform the defense into a highly respectable unit.
This group not only can get home to the quarterback but can also get off the field in three downs, something that seemed impossible in recent years. With the confidence of a stout defense on the roster, Carr has been able to swagger boisterously through games with the confidence of the great Raiders quarterbacks that came before him.
Throughout the offseason, Carr echoed the sentiment of wanting to win a championship with many fans clamoring for him to “show it on the field” to which Carr has happily obliged. Carr has done a tremendous job in the first two games of the season spreading the ball around the field and placing trust in his teammates to make plays.
The Las Vegas Raiders have question marks on both sides of the ball, but quarterback Derek Carr has more options than ever in 2021.
Before the season, Colin Cowherd said that Derek Carr was the most underrated quarterback in the league to which many analysts balked. Now, as the Raiders have begun to create a new identity for the team, the media has taken notice and has begun to finally give Derek Carr the respect he deserves.