Las Vegas Raiders: Is Derek Carr better without Jon Gruden?
Confidence is Key
Derek Carr has never lacked confidence. No matter how bad the team has been, he’s always been confident in what they’re doing and his ability to control what he can control. Every year we seem to hear the narrative about Carr not being Gruden’s guy and Gruden secretly searching for a replacement every offseason.
I’m sure that talks in house between Carr, Gruden, and Mayock have always been that he’s their guy and not to worry about what’s said on the outside. But you have to think eventually all the chatter starts to bug you a little bit and work its way into your thought process.
Whether that’s for the better to prove the haters wrong, or has you questioning your security it’s there in one form or another.
The confidence on the field has always been there as well. There’s no doubt that since Jon Gruden came back, Carr has progressed and gotten better every year. It probably helps that he finally had the same coaching staff for longer than two seasons. Gruden’s confidence in Derek Carr goes a long way in his confidence in himself as well. Getting into the play calling and decisions in key situations is where I believe Carr has been limited and the two have differed in opinion.
Gruden’s offense has been pegged as very complex and he has been vocal about Carr’s ability to comprehend all of it. On average Carr gets 3-5 plays called in at once and gets his decision based on what the defense is giving him. But what if none of them are what he’d of chosen against the alignment of the defense?
Did he really have free reign to go against what Gruden wanted to do in those specific moments?
With how much control Jon Gruden needed and how much he had his thumb on everything within the organization, it’s hard to believe Derek would of or could have ever had complete freedom. Was he given quite a bit of it? Yes. Does he always make the right decisions when he changes things? of course not.
But complete freedom has allowed him to not only have 100% confidence in himself and the offense but to truly be able to take all of the blame along with the success on his shoulders.
The last two games have proven two things to me: One, Olson and Carr have been able to simplify the playbook to the things that they do best, and two, it’s working even better than we could have imagined. Jon Gruden was a great coach for the Raiders, and built them into the team they are today. But I believe his departure is going to help Carr move forward with more freedom and put himself into a top 5 MVP candidate like we all believed he could be.