Oakland Raiders Vs. The AFC West: Quarterbacks

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Dec 28, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) prepares to pass against the Denver Broncos in the fourth quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 47-14. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Carr

Carr had a very solid rookie season, and one that has fans as well as the organization incredibly excited about the future. With more than 3,200 passing yards and 21 touchdowns against just 12 interceptions on the season, Carr showed that he has the potential to be the franchise QB Oakland has been in dire need of for so long.

While there were obviously some rookie mistakes and boneheaded plays, Carr showed tremendous pocket awareness (he took just 24 sacks on the season), good touch on his passes, poise under pressure, leadership on the field, and also that he has a cannon for an arm.

Many point to his very sub-par 5.5 yards per attempt average as proof that he’s not the franchise QB so many believe him to be. And while yes, that isn’t a great number, and is one that must be improved upon, it’s also somewhat misleading. Some of it had to do with a very bad receiving corps, some of it had to do with very bad play calling from a coaching staff that played it far too safe, and yes, part of it was Carr trying to do too much.

But now, along with some returning starters, Carr is armed with new weapons in Amari Cooper, Clive Walford, Roy Helu, Michael Crabtree. Combined with a faster paced, up tempo style offense that OC Bill Musgrave is implementing – a system that Carr is very comfortable with already, since Fresno State ran an up tempo spread attack – look for the second year QB to take a big leap forward.

Raider fans – and the infamous Raider Haters – are going to be amazed at what Carr can do when he’s in a system, with a team of coaches, who tailor the game plan and schemes around accentuating what he does best, rather than trying to shoehorn him into an already set game plan and philosophy.

Carr is arguably, already better than Smith in division. And he could take a big enough leap in productivity this season to climb even higher.

Next: The Aging Star