This breakdown has been inspired by the fact I believe Derek Carr is highly disrespected since Jon Gruden arrived, and the Bears cutting $13M in cap space on February 21st forced me to do this before something happens.
6-year veteran who has started 94 games in his career, including 16 in 2019. Has missed only 2 regular season games in his career, but most notedly, missing the playoff game after the team went 12-4 in 2016 with a broken leg. In 2019, Carr threw for over 4k yards, 70.4 completion percentage with just 21 touchdowns but only 8 INT’s. Carr has maintained an Interception ratio of just 1.9%; making Carr 1 of 6 active QB’s with a sub 2% INT (Rodgers, Wentz, Prescott, Brady and Wilson are others). Beating out other QB’s such as Drew Brees, Stafford, and Matt Ryan. Take the stat however you want, but facts are facts. However, Carr has not finished top-10 in passing touchdowns since his MVP caliber season back in 2016 when he finished 8th. From 2017-2019, he’s finished 12th, 21st, and 19th, respectively. Those are the numbers that create the Carr doubters, and it’s hard to argue with them especially when Carr has been so well protected. The Raiders OL has been ranked top 10 in 2 of those 3 seasons in sacks given up per game. But the bland scheme has also called the critics of Gruden; Raiders finished tied with the Bengals for plays over 20 yards and finished 5th in YAC in 2019. Another sign that the scheme restricts the QB and isn’t afforded the freedom that he once had in 2016, and the freedom that so many other QB’s have. Nonetheless, Carr is running out of time with the Raiders, and the supporters are running out of excuses.
Carr makes any throw you ask him to make; he throws with good anticipation, great touch, and, when he needs to, can throw a missile into tight windows. He’s an incredibly smart, well-prepared QB who, as we saw in 2016, was someone that was given plenty of freedom at the LOS to identify the mismatch, dissect the coverage and exploit the weakness within the parameters of an offense that suited his skillset. In the pocket Carr demonstrates good awareness, and uses his athleticism to move his feet, make defenders miss, keep his eyes downfield and deliver good throws. Possesses a good ability to change his arm angle to fit tight throws on underneath and shallow crossing routes. Sometimes, you just want to see more assertiveness. A little too willing to take the check-down and pass up on the deep shot which some people believe is his soft style of play.
I believe Derek Carr is someone that can lead a franchise, and as I hear the doubters, I’m also hearing people justify Teddy Bridgewater making $30+M/year and Taysom Hill getting starting QB money. Makes zero sense; and the point of all this is because I also think Derek Carr and Gruden just are not right for each other. As I’ve said before, I believe Gruden wants a puppet; he’s a control freak who doesn’t want to relinquish control over the most important position in professional sports, and I get that because at the end of the day it’s his job to lose. When I think of someone that fits what Gruden wants I think of someone like Gardner Minshew; a raw, talented QB that isn’t afraid of the moment, can make all the throws, is a gritty guy who teammates seem to want to play for. But Minshew isn’t the type of pro Carr is and needs to rely on Gruden to develop the rest of his game. I’m not saying Minshew should be a Raider, but just saying someone like him. To that, Carr doesn’t need that, he doesn’t need to rely on the tutelage from Gruden and that’s where I think the 2 do not gel.
A destination like Chicago or Indy works for Carr and will be given the freedom to get back to the 2016 version we saw win 12 games. Also, former Raider GM Reggie McKenzie is the Senior Personnel Executive with the Dolphins and could be a dark-horse destination for Carr (Reggie drafted Khalil Mack, Derek Carr and Gabe Jackson with his first 3 picks in 2014). Transition wise, I like Indy for Carr a lot. Very good OL, good balanced attack, lots of speed on the outside and stability within the organization. Derek Carr can lead an organization to success, and like Bill Belichick once said, “Good players can’t overcome bad coaching”. In Carr’s case, it’s time to get out of Vegas and restart his career elsewhere.