Las Vegas Raiders, Derek Carr, FranchiseSportsMedia.com
Photo Credit: Terrance Quaites – Franchise Sports Media

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WWJD – Should Derek Carr be the Quarterback?

 

The Oakland Raiders stood at 7-8, heading into the final regular-season game of the 2019 season with a lot at stake. The Silver and Black had a chance to make the playoffs with a variety of things taking place in other games, but it all came down to the Raiders winning their last game of the year against the Denver Broncos. No matter the outcome of the game, or the season, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and General manager Mike Mayock will face the inevitable question, is Derek Carr the right person to quarterback the Raiders when they move to Las Vegas?

Las Vegas Raiders, Derek Carr, FranchiseSportsMedia.com
Photo Credit: Terrance Quaites – Franchise Sports Media

Carr has been the franchises signal-caller since he was drafted in 2014. The results have been up and down when it comes to his performance. Some will point out the lack of weapons, some terrible offensive lines, and the injuries that have set him back after a steller 2016 season, and they are correct. That season was cut short by a broken leg that he suffered in the last game of the regular season.

Others will point out the inconsistency in his own play, checking the ball down to running backs instead of running or taking a deep shot downfield. They are also correct. Wrong or right, this is being perceived as fear, which has fans (and some say Gruden) frustrated.

That’s the problem; All of these points are correct! 😩

As a leader and a person, Derek Carr is precisely what a team wants. He’s been a class act who stands up and faces the media (and fans) when times are tough. He does this when others have taken the high road. On the field, it is a different story. Fans see other quarterbacks improvising, making plays, and having success and want that with Carr and the Raiders. Since it hasn’t happened consistently, they are ready to move on.

Going into the final regular-season game, Carr had passed for 3,663 yards, 20 touchdowns, and just eight interceptions, but his play had been inconsistent, frustrating, and downright annoying at times. There are times when he plays it safe in critical situations that call for him to “grip it and rip it,” or he’ll throw the ball away on 3rd down instead of taking a chance or taking off and using his legs to pick up the first down.

Most coaches and fans would love this attitude out of their quarterback, but it happens far too frequently for Raider Nation and Jon Gruden.

Las Vegas Raiders, Derek Carr, FranchiseSportsMedia.com
Photo Credit: Terrance Quaites – Franchise Sports Media

“Well, I’m getting old now,”  Raiders head coach Gruden told Vic Tafur of The Athletic. “I want to let it fly. I want to let the ball fly. I want big plays. I want excitement, you know. These bubble screens and check-downs only go so far with me.”  He continued, “I want to be aggressive, I want to try and make some big plays, especially if you’ve got the offensive line and the supporting cast to back it up.”

The last part of the statement speaks volumes to me. Do the Raiders have the supporting cast to back it up? Darren Waller, Tyrell Williams, and Hunter Renfrow are the only real pass-catching weapons the Raiders have, and while Waller and Williams are match-up problems, none of them are a real deep threat that can take the top off of a defense. They are all complimentary to the Raiders’ plan when they traded for Antonio Brown in the offseason. Brown was the piece Gruden needed and still needs.

Waller has established himself as one of the NFL’s best tight ends, and rookie running back Josh Jacobs has quickly emerged as the Raiders’ best offensive player. They are some nice pieces for a team that needed so much. Still, they lack the type of talent overall that other teams have to make a deep playoff run with a quarterback that needs weapons to be effective.

This isn’t a knock on Carr, but now the perception is that he isn’t the type of quarterback that can shoulder the entire offense on his own. Is he in the elite class of quarterbacks that include Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Patrick Maholmes, or even Lamar Jackson? No, but that’s OK. There have been plenty of game managing quarterbacks that have been successful and won a lot of ball games, even Super Bowls, but they knew that is what they were. I’m not sure Carr realizes that at this point in his career, that’s where he is.

Raiders fans that continuously complain about Carr also need to keep in mind that Raiders legend Jim Plunkett was considered a bust and not living up to expectations during his time in New England, where he didn’t’ have the weapons and supporting cast around him. Once he came to the Raiders, his career and legend took off.

Will Gruden, Mayock, and Raiders owner Mark Davis bring Carr with the Raiders when they move to Las Vegas and open Allegiant Stadium in 2020? That is what we all want to know, and it’s time to find out WWJD?

WWJD: Should the Raiders bring Carr to Vegas with them?

Las Vegas Raiders, Derek Carr, FranchiseSportsMedia.com
Photo Credit: Terrance Quaites – Franchise Sports Media

I would bring Carr to Vegas only if he and the team re-work his contract and make it easier to move on should Gruden decide that he’s not the guy to build the offense around moving forward. I would also look to see who is available in free agency. Would a Teddy Bridgewater entice Gruden, or would an older quarterback in the last stage of his career be the type of 1-year stop-gap to give the Raiders time to groom a younger guy? Tom Brady, Ryan Fitzpatrick, or Phillip Rivers would fit that mold.

The 2020 NFL Draft is also a deep quarterback draft, and as many as 6 QB’s could go in the 1st round. That would give the team another option at quarterback with or without Carr on the roster. LSU’s Joe Burrow and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa will both be long gone by the time the Raider have their first 1st round pick (twelfth overall). Washington’s Jacob Eason, Oregon’s Justin Herbert, Georgia’s Jake Fromm, or Utah State’s Jordan Love (at the Raiders’ second 1st round pick, 19th overall) all could be young signal-callers to keep an eye on as potential replacements for Carr.

If Carr is unwilling to do re-work his contract, then I would move on from him, which actually may be best for all parties. Maybe Carr could use a change of scenery and a new organization that will give him a fresh start, and an opportunity to re-establish himself and his confidence. Perhaps it’s also best for the Raiders (and Raider Nation) who could use a new signal-caller to lead the Silver and Black into their new digs in Sin City, one who will take the deep shots and play with reckless abandon.

Keep in mind that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

 

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