Oakland Raiders: Derek Carr Overhyped And Overrated?

Dec 6, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) runs onto the field before an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs at O.co Coliseum. The Chiefs defeated the Raiders 34-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 6, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) runs onto the field before an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs at O.co Coliseum. The Chiefs defeated the Raiders 34-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr took a big step forward from his rookie season to year two and has excited the fanbase – but has he become as overrated as some believe?

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Quarterback Derek Carr, entering his third season under center for the Oakland Raiders, has the organization – and most of its rabid fanbase – feeling very positive and optimistic about the future. And with good reason. Through his first two seasons as Oakland’s signal caller, Carr has helped lead an offensive revival in the East Bay and has piled up some impressive numbers along the way – his 53 touchdowns through his first two seasons are second only to Dan Marino in league history.

And after an offseason that saw the team fortify its offensive line – quite possibly making it one of the best in the league – and strengthen its defense, the Raiders look well positioned to continue building on the progress it made last season. But much of that progress is going to depend on Carr improving on his impressive sophomore season.

After a solid rookie campaign, Carr took tremendous strides and improved his game a hundred different ways last season. And yet, despite the big step forward from year one to year two, there are many out there who remain unsold on him as the team’s franchise quarterback. There are many who don’t believe he can lead this team to the playoffs. And what’s more, there are many who believe that he’s simply overhyped and overrated.

Now, there are always going to be haters who will mock and criticize anything and everything the team does. Oakland could bring in Tom Brady, Darrelle Revis, Adrian Peterson, and J.J. Watt and the haters would simply find some way to criticize the organization and all of those players. The haters aren’t relevant here – or anywhere, really – and can easily be ignored.

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But there are a fair few out there – some who seem fairly reasonable types most of the time – who insist that Carr is mediocre at best and is far overrated.

To start, it’s probably best to give some of those folks a quick definition of what the word “overrated” really means since they seem to be misunderstanding. “Overrated” simply means, “having a higher opinion of somebody (or something) than is deserved.”

Put in that context – you know, going by the actual definition of the word – it’s hard to see why anybody would believe that Carr is “overrated.” Unless of course, they don’t have a genuine understanding what that word actually means.

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Carr has the Oakland fanbase excited. Fired up. He has the Raider Nation more energized – and optimistic – than they’ve been in more than a decade. And why shouldn’t they be? The Oakland faithful suffered through a stretch of time that saw the team start a rogue’s gallery of quarterbacks that didn’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of anyone, let alone play the position with any level of competence.

Just in case you needed an illustration of just how dire Oakland’s quarterbacking situation was, the team started an illustrious group of signal callers that included the likes of JaMarcus Russell, Terrelle Pryor, Rick Mirer, Andrew Walter, Daunte Culpepper, Kyle Boller – and quite a few others who aren’t exactly destined for the Hall of Fame.

So can Raider fans be blamed for being really, really excited about having a quarterback who has shown tremendous ability – and given that he is entering just his third season as a pro, still has a lot of room to grow? No, certainly not.

Oakland Raiders
December 24, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) looks for a receiver against the San Diego Chargers during the first quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

What exactly about that sentiment – and the excitement he has helped generate about this team – is having a higher opinion of Carr than he deserves?

Fans – and the organization – believe that he has this team on an upward trajectory that will carry them to a postseason berth. And based on his first two years of play – as well as the upgrades to the roster around him – it seems to be optimism that’s warranted.

But that is a far cry from deeming him to be one of the league’s elite. That’s also not even proclaiming him to be in the top ten in the league at this point. Most reasonable people who reside in the real world understand that Carr still has room to grow and improvements to his game he needs to make before he can even realistically be put into the conversation about the elite quarterbacks in this league.

He’s exciting as a player, has tremendous upside, and is providing this team with a spark it hasn’t had in quite some time. But that’s not nearly the same thing as proclaiming him to be the second coming of Joe Montana – doing that would absolutely be overrating Carr at this point in his career.

But most reasonable, fair minded, knowledgeable people aren’t doing that – they’re simply expressing their excitement about him and the trajectory the team is on with him under center. Which shouldn’t be confused with anointing him a football god – and yet, many people seem to be conflating those two very different concepts, leading them to proclaim that Carr is an overrated hype machine.

Which shows that quite obviously, nuance – like common courtesy, manners, and good penmanship – is a dying art form.

Derek Carr is quite simply, the most exciting – and competent – quarterback the Raiders have had since the days of Rich Gannon. He, along with a very talented roster, have this team pointed in the right direction and trending upward.

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For his part in that Oakland revival and for his accomplishments on the field thus far, Carr most assuredly deserves the praise and excitement he has generated – while still understanding there is much work to do yet.

So, given that nobody – outside of a very few perhaps overzealous fans – are fitting him for a bust in Canton just yet, it’s impossible to make the argument that Carr is overrated. Unless, of course, you don’t understand the actual meaning of the word – or you’re just a hater.