For a few offseasons in a row now, there have been rumors about the Las Vegas Raiders looking to upgrade at quarterback. Derek Carr has been a productive player, but has fallen shy of true star quarterback status.
The 30-year old Carr had three Pro Bowls under his belt, from 2015-17. Under Jon Gruden, who took over the franchise ahead of the 2018 season, he has three-straight 4,000+ yard seasons. The team has improved in that time as well, though progress has started to plateau. After a 4-12 2018, the Raiders have gone 7-9 and 8-8 the last two seasons, though things are harder to get excited about considering the late season slides in each of those two seasons.
2020 was Carr’s best year under Gruden, and statistically, maybe his best NFL season yet. He completed 67.3-percent of his throws for a career high 4,103 yards. His 7.9 yards per attempt, decent by NFL standards, tied 2019 for his career high. He threw for 27 touchdowns, adding three on the ground, and nine interceptions. His 101.4 quarterback rate was also a career high.
While the rumors about the Raiders looking to upgrade at the position swirl every so often, Gruden doesn’t appear to think that’s the case. During a press conference at the start of the team’s training camp, he called Derek Carr a “really good quarterback that is really starting to play great for us.”
Gruden isn’t worried about the constant rumors, and he doesn’t think they bother Carr either. Via ProFootballTalk:
“Well you just can’t worry about some of the swirling conversations,” Gruden said. “I was a part of those swirling conversations for nine years. You know, we have to earn our money. So don’t pay attention to everything that’s being written. Derek knows what he’s all about and what kind of quarterback he is. So just try not to listen to the elevator music and worry about the things you can’t control.
“He’s a heck of a guy. He’s a really mentally tough guy. And he’s a really good quarterback that is really starting to play great for us. And I think people are starting to recognize that.”
Gruden, Carr, and the rest of the Las Vegas Raiders will have significant pressure to break through to the playoffs for the first time since 2016. The Raiders open their season on Monday, Sept. 13 when they host the Baltimore Ravens.