In 2016, Derek Carr received 6 MVP votes, and the Raiders went 12-4.
While many consider the 2016 season as a fluke, as teams like the Raiders, the Dolphins, the Lions, and the Giants all made the playoffs. The Lions are the only one of these teams, since then, to have a winning record. However, Carr played consistently well throughout the entire season, only to have it ruined by Trent Cole. Cole broke Carr’s leg in Week 16 of the 2016 season, thus ending Carr’s season.
Since then, people have questioned Carr’s ability to be a QB1. Let’s compare Carr’s 2016 season to his 2019 season.
Carr threw 3937 yards in 2016, and 4054 in 2019.
Additionally, he threw 28 TDs in 2016, but only 21 TDs in 2019.
He threw two more picks in 2019 than he did in 2016.
While his 2016 season may have been better statistically, he also had two 1,000 yard receivers in Crabtree + Cooper. Since then, his only 1,000-yard receiver came from breakout tight end, Darren Waller, in 2019. He also had walking HOFer Khalil Mack on the other side of the ball. However, the lack of support is only a portion of the problem.
Carr plays scared.
Since he broke his leg, he hasn’t looked the same. He throws the ball away on 4th down, takes sacks instead of rolling out, and generally doesn’t trust his O-Line; rightfully so, as he was sacked 51 times in 2018. Although, since then, Carr was only sacked 29 times in 2019.
Point being, he has the protection. Mayock & Gruden also emphasized the receiver position in the offseason with the acquisitions of Nelson Agholor, Henry Ruggs, & Bryan Edwards.
Additionally, they bolstered the defense through Cory Littleton, Nick Kwiatoski, & Damon Arnette. Essentially, Carr has a similar supporting cast to 2016. He hasn’t lost any talent.
IF (and this is a big if) Carr can play as fearless as he played in 2016, he’s poised to have his best season yet. If he doesn’t, Mariota should grab his spot.
The spotlight is on, and Carr’s seat is hot.
Photo: Raiders’ Wire