The Las Vegas Raiders are enjoying their bye week sitting with a 5-2 record, and here are the position grades for the quarterback spot.
We are entering uncharted territory for the Las Vegas Raiders. A team that has seemed hell-bent on losing, questionable front office moves, and drafting over the last twenty years or so is finally sitting pretty atop the AFC West standings.
As the Silver and Black enter into a Bye week for Week 8, the eyes of Raider Nation and the world over have been on one particular player in Derek Carr.
The eight-year starting quarterback for the Raiders is the face and leader of the franchise. This team, year-after-year has gone only as far as Carr can lead them, and when looking at the past records, this hasn’t been very far.
However, things are feeling a bit different this time around.
Derek Carr entered this season with some much-needed continuity — and he got it, as he was leading the charge for his fourth season under head coach Jon Gruden. To put this misery into context, Carr started the season under his fourth head coach in Gruden, which is by far the longest-tenured in Carr’s career.
The first three games of the 2021 season started in record-setting fashion for Carr, as the team rolled out to a 3-0 record for the first time in almost 20 years, with Carr leading the league in passing yards.
Raiders struggle after a tremendous start
After two lackluster back-to-back losses in Week 4 and 5, the Raiders lost the only consistent coaching piece in Jon Gruden, due to controversial emails that were leaked before the Week five loss. This ultimately led to the resignation of Gruden, and in stepped Rich Bisaccia, the former special teams’ coach of the Raiders.
So far under Bisaccia, and with offensive play-calling duties handed over to Offensive coordinator Greg Olson — Carr has gotten back to his winning ways, while also stacking the stat sheet with back-to-back 300-yard passing performances. Carr has excelled in a way he never has, and despite it being his eighth-year under center, it seems that this season might go down as his finest.
In terms of what is behind Carr has not been bad, it’s just Carr is a durable player, and rarely sits on any possession. Backup quarterback Marcus Mariota has yet to attempt a pass, and he has only been involved in two plays so far this season.
A 31-yard scamper that resulted in Mariota injuring himself for multiple weeks, and a four-yard carry in the last matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Third-string quarterback Nathan Peterman has also yet to throw a pass and was in for two rushing attempts when Carr was banged up for a slight period against the Chicago Bears in Week 5. He had a solid preseason and is more than capable of picking up the slack if called upon, although this may never be the case this season.
The play of Carr of course leads this group, but hopefully, we can see more packages centered around Mariota, whose speed gives the Raiders an added dimension. However, when looking at this group so far, you have to give all the credit to Carr. Not only are the Raiders first place in the division, but he is second in passing yards in the entire league, while steadily being a focal point and majority of the Raiders’ offensive yards.
Carr should continue to thrive under Olson, who coincidentally was his first offensive coordinator in Carr’s rookie season. The ‘captain’ is surely in the early season MVP mix and will look to continue his superb play after the bye against the New York Giants in Week nine.