The Las Vegas Raiders are getting outstanding play from quarterback Derek Carr, who deserves to be in the conversation for NFL Most Valuable Player.
Seven games into the 2021 season and Derek Carr should surely be involved in the MVP discussion. Sure, the Las Vegas Raiders have ten games left, so we won’t prematurely anoint Carr or anyone for that matter as a true MVP frontrunner.
With the season being still in the early phases, a lot can go wrong or change for the fortunes of the Raiders and Carr. At 5-2, things are looking good so far for the AFC West leaders, but the Raiders also started strong last year before sputtering out and missing out on a playoff berth.
Derek Carr and the Raiders are heading into the Week 8 bye with a much-needed break, after a 3-0 start which resulted in two terrible back-to-back losses and the resignation of fourth-year head coach Jon Gruden, which in turn led to two straight wins under interim head coach Rich Bisaccia, the drama surrounding the Raiders has been the talk of the league.
Carr has truly not let the distractions get to him much it would seem, he is second in passing yards and leading a Raiders offense that is one of the best in the league. The eight-year starter is on the cusp of being the leader in almost every major Raider passing category, but the statistical success has not translated to the winning column, as he sports a 52-65 record, with not a single playoff appearance in his years at the helm (2016, we will not discuss).
This year seems to feel a bit different compared to the last few years of Carr being in charge of the Raiders offense. Not only is his first offensive coordinator Greg Olson back to calling plays for the Silver and Black, but Carr is playing with a level of guile and unabashed courage that we have not ever seen from the veteran quarterback.
He is also trusting his receivers like never before, as he routinely finds seven to eight receivers per game consistently.
Maybe the newfound confidence is truly intact, or maybe he understands the ramifications of his play, as he is in search of a new contract extension. Carr only has one more year on his current deal, which compared to many quarterbacks around the league, is truly a team ‘friendly’ deal.
The ‘captain’ has stated his love for the Raider franchise and has said numerous times that he would only play for this franchise. With his passion for the Silver and Black, he still routinely is the butt of many jokes, as the Raiders year-after-year falter and do not reach the playoffs.
A lot can be said for the lack of defensive help for the Raiders. As for the Silver and Black offense, it has been one of the best for quite some time, last year was even an indicator of this. But the defense, year-after-year has been among the worst, which has resulted in a significant number of Raiders losses.
This year the offseason and NFL Draft were all defensively addressed, which has not only helped out Carr but helped the Raiders to the divisional lead in the AFC West.
Raiders star QB off to outstanding start
We are only seven games into this season, and it is very very early to call Derek Carr an MVP front runner, but he is surely showing his chops week after week and dominating nearly every defense he faces. His play and the record of the Raiders show that he is surely the catalyst of this team, and their success hinges on the play of their captain. His leadership is clearly highlighted every week as not only do the players follow the lead of the quarterback, but even head coach Rich Bisaccia has called Carr “The voice of this team.”
Jon Gruden's departure was just as surprising as it was sudden. Where will the Raiders go now? The real question is this: Is Derek Carr better without him?
Whether you are a Carr ‘stan’ or ‘hater’, you cannot deny the quarterback is playing out of his mind in 2021, as he is one of the best quarterbacks in the league week-by-week. Hopefully, Carr can finally change the narrative of the Raiders franchise and lead this franchise into the playoffs. Derek Carr should be considered one of the MVP front runners, whether you like it or not.