After three years of sweat and blood, arguing on the wings, those unfriendly glances that are characteristic of the Las Vegas Raiders coach, it seems Derek Carr has finally developed into the quarterback Jon Gruden desired.
The unbeaten march of the Raiders in the current season, and that they will expose this Monday night against the Los Angeles Chargers (ESPN Deportes, (8:15 pm ET) has as its main argument the performance of Carr, who seems to be ready to deploy a Potential that, for one reason or another, he hasn’t been able to reach since joining the NFL in the second round of the 2014 draft.
After three weeks of the regular season in 2021, Carr has 1,203 yards through the air, a number that makes him the NFL leader and the highest total for a Raiders quarterback after the first three games of a season. season and the fourth-most in the same period for any quarterback in league history.
This season, Carr looks like a more confident quarterback, more daring to exploit his passing attack with more deep passes and who gets on better with his receivers, mainly with Henry Ruggs III and tight end Darren Waller.
Poor overall performance has kept the Raiders out of the limelight and Carr had his share of responsibility for not knowing how to manage his offense well or reach an understanding with his receivers, in addition to, on several occasions, not having goals of quality in the air game.
At the end of the 2016 season, Carr suffered a fracture in his right leg from which he recovered, but which raised doubts about his recovery and the possibility of returning to an acceptable level to be a starter in the NFL, but the Raiders did not hesitate and showed his faith in the quarterback by giving him a five-year, $ 125 million deal, 40 of them guaranteed with a $ 12.5 million signing bonus.
That year, the Raiders finished 6-10 and the pressure began to build. Then came Gruden in 2018, the black and silver only won four games and Carr, who showed no damage from injury, set a career-high in passing yards (4,049), but also the fewest touchdown passes in his career. career (19).
In Gruden’s first three years at the helm of the Raiders, Carr’s ups and downs have been the norm, which has led both to have discussions in several games that, although they have not gone beyond that, of exchanges of opinions. , they have made it seem that neither the quarterback nor the coach are in tune.
After three years under Gruden’s tutelage, the coach’s work seems to be starting to pay off with a Carr who looks more confident in the Raiders’ offensive system and a clear proof is the way he has distributed his passes. In Monday night’s Week 1 win over the Baltimore Ravens, Carr searched 19 times for Waller, but in the next two games, he’s pitched only seven times each to tight end.
Calling on Waller is no longer the passing game system for Carr but a resource to exploit at set times.
With that confidence and good performance, Carr has the Raiders one win away from starting a season with four wins for the first time since 2002, when they reached the Super Bowl.
Using the words “Raiders” and “Super Bowl” in the same sentence is strange, but it is a symptom of the good step that the black and silver have in 2021 and Carr is mainly responsible for it.