Oakland Raiders: Derek Carr is garbage and everything is his fault

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 30: Derek Carr #4 of the Oakland Raiders walks through the tunnel to the field prior to the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 30: Derek Carr #4 of the Oakland Raiders walks through the tunnel to the field prior to the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images) /

The Oakland Raiders, according to some, have a problem and likely won’t win anything, at any time, with Derek Carr under center.

If the Oakland Raiders were to poll the fanbase – and that poll consisting of just one question – you’d find the infamous Nation pretty clearly divided. And that one question is – should Derek Carr be the team’s quarterback moving forward?

On that question, there is one camp saying yes and another camp saying no. There just doesn’t seem to be a lot of fence sitting or middle grounders about the subject of Carr leading this team. After a 4-12 season directly following a 12-4 year that got everybody’s hopes way up, confidence in Carr seems to have eroded to an all-time low.

Although there are always going to be those people who say they never liked Carr from the start, the calls for him to be benched, cut, traded, or loaded onto one of Elon Musk’s rockets and shot directly into the heart of the sun have increased exponentially in quantity, volume, and profanity.

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Rumors – or perhaps just wishes people are trying to manifest into reality – have been swirling around the soon-to-be 28-year-old quarterback harder and faster than the tornado that sucked up Dorothy and little Toto too. And there are a lot of people who’d certainly like to see said tornado suck Carr up and spit him out in the land of Munchkins and Yellow Brick Roads – anywhere but Oakland.

Heading into his sixth season as the team’s quarterback, the rumors surrounding Carr are flying fast and furious, and have hit a fevered pace unlike anything he’s dealt with before.  Some rumors have Carr going to the Washington Redskins to join Jay Gruden’s staff. Others have him being shipped to the New York Giants for Eli Manning and a carton of smokes.

Others have them either drafting Kyler Murray or signing Nick Foles, making him the most expensive backup quarterback in the history of the league. Still others rumors have Gruden trading Carr to the San Diego Fleet of the AAF for a plate of wings and a couple of pitchers down at the local Hooters.

The point is that confidence in Carr has hit rock bottom. Like Gruden, he’s gone from franchise golden boy to the root of all evil and dysfunction within the organization. Opinion of Carr has dipped low enough that you’re starting to see more and more people expressing things like…

Indeed, it seems as if it’s becoming trendy to jump on the Carr is garbage bandwagon these days. But let’s pump the hate brakes on that thought for just a moment and ask ourselves the question that should be asked – why? Or alternately, how is Carr exactly garbage?

Last we checked, it wasn’t Carr who was giving up a tick under 30 points a game to opposing teams. It wasn’t Carr who put together a running game that ranked near the bottom of the league in yards and average per carry. It wasn’t Carr that gave up 50 sacks on the year. And it wasn’t Carr that put together a receivers room that wouldn’t even be the best in the AAF.

All Carr did was take an offensive roster that was the envy of – well, nobody – and have himself a career year. For the season, Carr set career highs in yards (4,049 – topping 4,000 yards for the first time ever), completion percentage (68.9), yards per attempt  (7.2), and had his second highest QB rating at 93.9.

Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas Raiders /

Las Vegas Raiders

Some people will point to Carr’s 10 picks on the year. That’s fair. However, it’s also fair to note that of those 10 picks, only two of them came after week five – and those were in a meaningless game against Kansas City to close out the year. In between, he went 325 consecutive pass attempts without an interception – which is pretty remarkable, no matter how you want to parse it.

And if you happen to be scoring at home, the NFL record for consecutive pass attempts without a pick is 402, currently held by Aaron Rodgers, of course, and Tom Brady is second on the list with 357. Not bad company to be keeping at all.

It’s also fair to note that Carr was on his fourth offensive coordinator in his first five seasons. Gruden’s offensive system is more complex than he’s had before, and it also calls for him to take more ownership and control of the offense than he’s used to.

Given all of those factors, with perhaps the lack of any offensive weaponry not named Jared Cook, and the numbers he was able to put up in spite of that, the argument that Carr is garbage is inane and utterly mind-boggling.

This offseason, it’s imperative that Gruden put some legit offensive weaponry around Carr. Doug Martin was fine and did a decent enough job, but it’s clear that he’s a complementary back, rather than a primary ballcarrier. They also need more talent in their receiving room – a lot more talent. The wideout cupboards are more bare than Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboards. Jordy Nelson is a decent piece, but he’s not the game changer and field stretcher this offense needs.

The deficiencies on this roster are legion and while Carr still has room for improvement and has a lot of work to do in order to master Gruden’s offense, calling him garbage and calling for him to be cut is, to put it bluntly and as kindly as we can, just plain stupid.

It flies in the face of logic, reason, and reality. He not only had to adjust to yet another new system, he also had no offensive talent around him. He also had to account for a defense that got scored on more often than Stevie Wonder playing goalie for the San Jose Sharks. And yet despite being hampered by all of that, Carr still had a very solid year, statistically speaking.

So why exactly is he garbage again?

Quarterbacks get more of the blame and more of the spotlight than they deserve when there are a lot more moving parts to a team. The most successful quarterbacks in NFL history have had solid talent around them – not necessarily superstars – but solid talent nonetheless.

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Which makes it imperative for Gruden and GM Mike Mayock to stock this roster with talent and give Carr some actual weapons to work with. If Gruden and Mayock do their jobs correctly and Carr still doesn’t get it done, maybe then it would be a little more reasonable to question whether or not he was, in fact, garbage.