I’ll start off by saying I’ve been a Derek Carr supporter since the day he was drafted by the Raiders. Maybe it was his pro-Raider upbringing, maybe it was his positive attitude, maybe it was getting him and Khalil Mack in the same draft that was appealing, but football skills aside, I’ve just liked Carr the person from the start.
I think we all did.
But since 2014, there’s been a well-known debate amongst Raider Nation that’s slowly grown into the great divide it is today – is Carr the guy? And it’s because it’s rare to see a quarterback with such impressive stats accompanied by 0 playoff wins.
It doesn’t make sense.
Raider Nation has been split for years on this topic. Each with a narrative in their head that can’t be changed. But also, each desperately wanting the same outcome. Whether you hate him or love him, you want him to succeed because you want the Raiders to succeed.
It’s the perfect storm. A franchise that once won Super Bowls and now hasn’t won a playoff game in two decades finds a capable quarterback who isn’t quite a superstar but also isn’t provided a consistent coach or consistent weapons – 9 years later you have half the fan base wanting to trade that quarterback and the other half wanting him to stay until he retires.
There’s no middle ground and it’s crazy.
There is no middle ground when it comes to Raiders QB Derek Carr
The main driver of the divide is lack of patience. The fan base justifiably has none left after decades of losing. Life is short, Raiders fans want to win now. Carr’s supporters think stability at that position accompanied by his stats should lead to wins, while his critics believe his mistakes have a bigger impact on team performance than his production does.
For example, in five of his eight seasons, Carr has been top-4 in the NFL in fumbles. In 2018 and 2020, he led the league in fumbles with the likes of Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson, Kolton Miller, and Gabe Jackson protecting him.
Additionally, the timing of those fumbles have fueled his haters (for example, diving for the pylon against Green Bay and against Dallas). He also has the most career fumbles in Raiders history – and it’s not even close – with 78 to date, he’s blown past Marcus Allen’s 50 career fumbles and Gannon’s 44.
But then you see him and Peyton Manning sitting together as the only QBs in NFL history with eight straight 300+ completion seasons to start a career, that doesn’t just happen to a bad quarterback. You can’t just fail your way into the company of Peyton Manning.
He’s compiled impressive completions, yards, and touchdown totals. And in 2021, a season where he faced the most adversity, his stats mimicked Rich Gannon’s 2002 MVP season which Carr’s haters have always compared him to.
It’s not just fans who are split on him. The new regime of Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler also seem undecided if he’s their guy. The extension Carr signed this offseason though 2025 has a potential out in 2023 with just $5,625,000 in dead cap, per Spotrac.
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His critics put more weight on his mistakes and specific situations where he fell short. His supporters emphasize his stats and the overall body of work. Honestly, both sides are right. And this season, with the most offensive weapons he’s ever had, and a pitiful 0-2 start, both sides are just waiting to claim they’re correct.