The Las Vegas Raiders have a penchant for starting hot, and then falling apart down the stretch in recent years. Quarterback Derek Carr sees his team differently, and believes they were just a few plays from a pretty special season.
After going from 6-4 to 7-9 in 2019, the Raiders had a similar “tale of two seasons” last year. After a 6-3 start, the team finished at 8-8 and firmly out of the seven-team AFC playoff field.
Where some may see a late-season swoon, if not a collapse, Carr believes the team was a few crucial moments away from being right in the mix in January. “We were three or four plays away from having 12 or 11 wins,” he said during an appearance on Peacock’s Brother From Another this week.
“Like, literally three plays. And it’s like, we’re so close. Especially, we feel so confident on the offensive side with all the weapons that you mentioned and all those kinds of things…”
The Las Vegas Raiders looked to stock up on the defensive side this offseason, bringing in Gus Bradley as coordinator, as well as roster additions like Yannick Ngakoue. Carr thinks that will help bridge the gap between the .500 mark that the team has struggled to eclipse, and true playoff contender.
“Now adding coach Gus Bradley and Yannick and the different guys that we’ve added to our defense, I mean, we’re kind of excited — to say the least. So we’re really looking forward to the season.”
The Raiders were at the losing end of some tough games last year, including the Kansas City Chiefs’ comeback against them in Week 11, an overtime loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 15, and Ryan Fitzpatrick’s incredible comeback win for the Miami Dolphins in Week 16. At the same time, they stole a game from the New York Jets in Week 13, on a defensive blitz call that got Gregg Williams fired. Pro Football Reference has their expected wins last year at 7.1-8.9, which would indicate that the luck was in their favor, if anything.
Fans are having plenty of fun at Carr’s expense over that claim.
— A$N (@Moodab4) July 9, 2021
Some #Raiders fans say this too.
Though it’s true, you can swing the pendulum both ways. They were also an ill-timed Cover-0 call and an Isaiah Johnson PBU from 6-10.
A ton of games come down to the wire. You win some, you lose some. They finished 8-8. Gotta be better. https://t.co/fick2pMt64
— Maurice Moton (@MoeMoton) July 9, 2021
And five plays away from being 3-13. They were an 8-8 team. That’s what they were. https://t.co/UIvkWW37ey
— Bill Williamson (@BWilliamsonNFL) July 9, 2021
I was three or four girlfriends away from dating Halle Berry
— Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) July 9, 2021
They were also 3 or 4 plays away from having 5 wins… https://t.co/7gXhpcvu2O
— ChargersMemes (@ChargersMemes) July 9, 2021
And we a Good QB away from being a great team https://t.co/O2rN9YJVY2
— Blackagar Boltagon (@TheOnly1der) July 9, 2021
The world when the Raiders fail to go above .500 this season but give Jon Gruden and Derek Carr contract extensions:
— CJ Errickson (@CJErrickson_NFL) July 9, 2021
The Raiders have some talent, but Derek Carr may be overselling how close they are to major contention, but it is hard to blame him for trying to remain optimistic.