On Sunday, Derek Carr had the opportunity to change the nagging narrative surrounding him. With a win at Arrowhead, Carr could’ve rewritten his legacy. Yet, once again, the Raiders fell in Kansas City, Not only was this game pretty much for the division, the playoff chances seem to dissipate. Similarly, Jon Gruden, never one to exhibit a poker face, watched his team fail in a big moment. To answer these questions, FPC Raiders writers Pete Camarillo and Ray Aspuria discuss the state of the quarterback and head coach.
Has Derek reached his ceiling with the Raiders? What surprised you most about Sunday’s performance?
Yes, for the past few seasons Carr has been the wild card. If he plays well, they can pull out a win, we tell ourselves. Unfortunately, he’s come up short in too many of those spots regardless of weather or time zone. And yeah, everything isn’t his fault. We saw Carr play well in 2016, when everything lined up right. However, even if the Raiders get an elite WR and some help on defense in this draft they will still be limited by Carr.
That means even on a good team, when he isn’t taking the team out of the game with turnovers, Carr is at best a QB for your wild card team. That isn’t enough when you’re in a division with Mahomes and Reid. Sorry DC.
Derek Carr’s ceiling was the impressive 2016 run the team had under Jack Del Rio and Bill Musgrave. Carr hasn’t approached that kind of performance since, and despite Jon Gruden’s best efforts, can’t coax that out of No. 4.
The most surprising aspect of Sunday’s performance was Carr forgoing his favored dump off passes and looking downfield. Nothing was open and it got to the point where outstanding rookie tailback Josh Jacobs was doing jumping jacks to get Carr’s attention. He was open in the flat and Carr looked to the right and stayed there instead of swiveling his head left.
What four thoughts about the loss would you guess is flowing through Jon Gruden’s mind?
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1) Derek Carr can’t win here (in Arrowhead).
2) This is why I hate replay (overturn of INT and pass interference instead).
3) I really hate the officials (0, count that, ZERO penalties on the Chiefs).
4) I probably should tell Derek to sell that house he bought next to mine in Las Vegas.
First, it has to be how much better the Chiefs are at receiver and quarterback. The Raiders had the clear advantage on offensive line and in the backfield but the Chiefs passing game talent and scheme was too much once again.
Hence, Gruden has got to be thinking how he can get their QB and WRs back in synch down this final stretch. It is probably too late to upgrade talent their until the offseason. So for now, Gruden has got to be thinking of new ways for them to win because they got exposed two weeks in a row.
On that same note, it has got to be on him too. The play calling is mediocre on the best days. That fourth down sweep was there but why risk that? Don’t forget Kansas City hit another gear in the second half. Oakland had not been that second half team and Gruden deserves blame for that
Are there realistic silver linings with the offense?
Jacobs is obviously the golden star of this entire year. Despite never being a feature back in Bama, he has it. His speed and power can keep defenses on their heals for years to come as long as he is healthy. Jacobs is versatile too.
The offensive line is also a bright spot. They’ve rarely been healthy across the board but when they are they can impose their will.
Josh Jacobs is a legitimate bell cow running back that must be taken care of like a six-figure sports car. The other is Darren Waller is an absolute stud of a pass-catching tight end who is refining his blocking ability. Those two alone make the offense something to be reckoned with … if Gruden gets his QB under center.
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