The Oakland Raiders have started off their season 1-4. The owner of the Raiders Mark Davis fired ex-coach Jack Del Rio to hire old Oakland coach Jon Gruden, hoping to get his team back on track to how they used to be. Other than in 2016 when they went 12-4, the Raiders have had a rough go of things. That season, Derek Carr broke his fibula in the last game of the season and they lost to the Houston Texans in the wild-card weekend.
Oakland released their back-ups, Connor Cook and E.J. Manuel, in the offseason. They signed A.J. McCarron and he is now Carr’s only backup. He has always been a backup. He has been on two other teams before the Raiders; the Buffalo Bills and the team that drafted him, the Cincinnati Bengals.
With that being the case, should the Raiders think about benching Carr?
What’s wrong with Derek Carr?
Derek Carr’s outstanding season in 2016 set him up for a possible failure upon his return from his injury in 2017. He led the Raiders to a 6-10 record, landing third in the AFC West and missed an opportunity at the playoffs. So far this season Oakland is 1-4 and Carr looks like he is going downhill. He has more interceptions this season (eight) than he does touchdown passes (seven). Three of those interceptions have been thrown in the end zone, costing the Raiders much needed points.
Through Week 3, Oakland has been leading every single game at the half but ended up blowing it because of turnovers or their defense has just fallen down on the job. The young quarterback has shown a glimpse of what he was like in the 2016 season. He can throw the long balls and has a completion percentage of 71.3%. This is higher than in 2016 where he recorded 63.8% completion. Their only win came in overtime against the Cleveland Browns when Carr drove the Raiders down the field in 57 seconds throwing a touchdown pass to tight end Jared Cook. They then converted the 2-pt conversion forcing OT.
Carr can’t seem to learn how to deal with the pressure of the defensive line crashing in on him. His maneuverability in the pocket is low and he is unable to extend plays as he should. He throws interceptions instead of just throwing it away. His eyes aren’t looking down the field, they are looking within 10 yards because Carr likes to dump it off. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson and Jared Cook have a tendency to get open downfield even after multiple seconds. Working with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers set them up for that since he makes sure his receivers never stop running routes. Carr needs to step up his game, he needs to learn how to work the pocket or 2016 will just look like a lucky year.
It’s all about the money
It’s more than likely the Raiders won’t bench Carr. After his tremendous season in 2016, he could only come back better, right? Other than the Cleveland Browns, the Oakland Raiders have struggled the most in finding their franchise quarterback. Since Rich Gannon’s Pro Bowl season in 2002, 17 quarterbacks started for Oakland before drafting Carr in 2014. In 2017, he signed a 5-year $125 million dollar contract with $70 million guaranteed. Money runs it all and everyone wants to be paid. Carr was one of those players. With the Raiders still owing him over $100 million dollars, there is a very slim chance Carr will be on the beach at any point this season.