To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Raiders’ offseason centers around Derek Carr. For the fourth season in a row, Carr surpassed the 4000 passing yards mark. His most recent season was his most successful, yardage-wise. He eclipsed 4100 yards for the first time in his career. Carr also threw his third-fewest interceptions (9) in a season during the 2020 gauntlet. Additionally while setting a career-high in average quarterback rating.
It is genuinely difficult to figure out what his doubters would like him to do better. Carr has cut down on his throwaways and wasted throws while also trusting his legs more. Sure, Carr is no Lamar Jackson, but he was able to throw and rush more yards than Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, yet Roethlisberger admittedly had the better overall season and led his team to the playoffs. The difference between the two? A top-tier defense and one of the most creative and wise coaches in the NFL in Mike Tomlin.
Carr has been consistently playing above the NFL average for the last three seasons, which is all a non-playoff-ready team can truly ask for. The only thing inconsistent with Carr is his ball security, which he appeared to work on after some of his more daunting games. This will obviously be something Carr and his coaches will work on in the offseason which, to be frank, should include in daily drills throughout the season as well.
As difficult as it may be for some to admit, Carr is not currently a top-five (or even top-ten, as his stats place him 11th through the 2020 season) quarterback. Teams can have promising playoff runs with even lower-ranked quarterbacks, as Jared Goff, Ryan Tannehill, and Baker Mayfield all reached the postseason throwing fewer yards than Carr. How were these players able to do this? By being more than a single-faceted team. The Rams, Titans, and Browns all have noteworthy defenses while the latter two have impressive run games established as well.
To blame Carr is to accept that a majority of the team’s facets are locked and loaded and ready for the playoffs, which simply is not true. The Raiders defense ended ranked in the bowels of the league, the run game/run blocking fizzled and dissipated, and the only facet truly prepared for postseason play is placekicking, as Daniel Carlson not only got more than enough in-game practice throughout the season but also set the Raiders record for points scored in a season.
Dreadful Recent Memory
The “Oakland-based” Raiders have been through quarterback hell. Remember Kerry Collins? What about Andrew Walter? Who could forget the drama and painful fallout surrounding Jamarcus Russell? Carr has established confidence in himself and his team, give the man a defense to back him up before saying he cannot “get it done.”
With all that out in the open, if the Texans come calling about a Deshaun Watson deal, jump at the chance.