If you read any of Derek Carr’s quotes in 2018, they paint the picture of a confident man. With a new head coach and scheme in tow, Carr looks ready to attack the 2018 Raiders season. Granted, the calendar still reads June, and thing do not become real until September. Yet, Carr appears ready. However, entering 2018, there are hurdles that will test him from July to February.
While things seem all smiles at minicamp, an underlying truth bubbles below. Jon Gruden is rough on players. In fact, only Rich Gannon and Brad Johnson handled him with any modicum of sustained success. For Gannon, Gruden’s aggressive demeanor was met by his own ferocity. Whenever the Raiders suffer through poor offensive series and throws, will Carr be able to withstand the verbal onslaught from Gruden?
Carr, on Gruden
“He is trying to take it to another level of just making you uncomfortable, giving you the toughest looks. He does not want everything to be perfect every day. Game-like. It’s been awesome. Just making smart decisions and doing those things every day, I think those are just some of the things that have stuck out the most about him.”
Carr sounds legitimately happy that a coach actually pushes him. To his credit, Carr adjusts well to various situations and can handle adversity
At 27, Carr enters his prime. However, quarterbacks enjoy a longer time on top than most NFL players do. However, looking at the successes of those passers drafted around the same time, you can see Carr needing a monster season.
When the Jaguars passed on Khalil Mack and selected Blake Bortles, Raiders history changed. On the other hand, the Jags stuck with Bortles through thick and mostly thin. In 2017, thanks to serious free agent money spent on defense, Bortles enjoyed his best season to date. In turn, the Jags reached the AFC title game. Blake Bortles owns a lengthier playoff history than Carr, who has none.
For the better part of his career, pundits gushed over Mariota’s blend of athleticism and leadership. In 2017, the Titans made the playoffs, where they faced the Chiefs. In a stadium that houses some of Derek Carr’s most awful performances, Mariota led his team to a comeback win. The Raiders are still waiting for Carr’s signature postseason moment.
By all indications, no one works harder that Derek Carr. Some of the failings of the offense should not fall on his shoulders. In contrast, his lofty contract demands they do. The Raiders will only go as far as Carr can take them.