When the 2019 Raiders enter the mind, outside of Jon Gruden, the most visible member of the organization remains Derek Carr. Now, with Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams, Carr enjoys a prolific receiver and emerging deep threat. However, some doubt Carr, and whether he can effectively lead this team to sustained success. As a result, FPC Raiders writers Ray Aspuria, Pete Camarillo, and Kenneth Berry delve into Derek Carr and figure out where he stands.
How would you rank the AFC QB, 1-4 and what does Carr need to do to climb?
- Philip Rivers
- Patrick Mahomes
- Derek Carr
- Joe Flacco
Derek Carr needs to do what Philip Rivers has been apt at doing for a long time — get the most out of what you have at hand. Rivers hasn’t had the best offensive lines, running backs, receiving options at his disposal, but Old Man Phillip continues to be a stout signal caller. Gripe about his incessant whining all you want, but he’s been a stalwart quarterback in the division for a long time. Moreover, even though he’s the elder statesman of the group, he goes out and gets it done, regardless of his supporting cast. DC needs a sound group around him in pristine condition.
Rivers, Mahomes, Carr and Flacco? I mean can we honestly say Carr is better than Flacco? They’re basically the same dude, although most will take Flacco’s ring over Carr’s numbers. Further, can we honestly say Rivers is better than Mahomes right now? Mahomes had an amazing first season as a full-time starter, but Rivers is playing at a high level and has been for years. It’s really a toss-up. Thus, if Carr wants to separate himself from the pack he will need to both rack up numbers and lead his team to wins.
Patrick Mahomes, Philip Rivers, Derek Carr and Joe Flacco. Carr needs to convert on third down, cut down on stupid mistakes, be smarter in the red zone, and make plays with his legs. He has to play smart and put his porous defense in the best position by playing with a lead.
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If you look at the AFC as a whole, where would you rate Carr?
Surprisingly the AFC West offers the most complete QB package in the AFC. You look at the North and they feature an aging Super Bowl winner, two second-year phenoms and Andy Dalton. The East is Tom Brady, two second-years who still must prove themselves. In the South, with Luck, but is Watson or Mariota better than Carr? What is Nick Foles? Therefore, you can easily put Brady, Luck, Roethlisberger, Mahomes and Rivers over Carr and maybe Watson. After that, everyone else is rather lumped together and it is a matter of scheme and preference. So yeah, Carr is probably anywhere from the sixth to tenth best QB in the AFC, depending who you ask.
Carr is a boom or bust type player for the AFC. He can be a dangerous facilitator or a costly, stopgap in the way of progress for this team. He has all the natural ability to be a top-10 QB. He has to put it together with consistency and aggressiveness.
Middle of the pack. While he has an arm that can rival anyone in the conference, where he needs to develop is improvisational skills. When Jon Gruden said he wants Carr to make plays with both his legs and arms — referring to Ben Roethlisberger’s ability to extend plays with his feet before making the throw — it harkens on a notion the head coach has loved in his QBs dating back to Steve Young and Rich Gannon.
Carr, despite leg and back injuries, is not a statue-esque QB like Flacco or Brady. He can move and has the wheels to make defenses pay, but whether it’s coach’s instructions or unwillingness to use those legs, Carr seems to have the leg braces that hampered young Forrest Gump. If he uses his legs more often and extends plays to find receiving targets downfield, he will move up the conference QB ladder.
He enjoys everything else you would want in a QB. In addition, he did have his best statistical season of his career under Gruden in Year 1. Now imagine if he uses his legs in unison with his arm and brain.