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Raider Nation will have to wait until next year to see Derek Carr they once knew

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Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr isn’t the same player he was in 2016 and won’t be until 2018.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been apparent through most of this season that while Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr may be back physically from the broken leg he suffered late last season, but not psychologically. I don’t care who you are, injuries like that make you a little tentative when you come back. I takes a portion of your first year up to your second year back to play the game the same way.

There were times that it seem he may be pulling through but that isn’t the case. And the fracture in his back he suffered in week four of this season has him even more messed up psychologically and physically.

Last year Carr was confident and fearless, diving over a defender to pick up a first down, making plays out of the pocket and standing in there a little longer at times to wait for deep routes to break open.

This year, he gets rid of the ball quick and no longer makes plays outside the pocket. He also just looks for the softest place to fall when the rush comes the way Peyton Manning did at the end of his career. And Sunday Carr threw his sixth interception under pressure Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, already doubling the three he threw under pressure last year according to Pro Football Focus.

Physically, he doesn’t put his whole body into his throws the way he did last year. How far a QB can throw a football depends largely on how fast he can turn his waist. But with a broken back, it’s pretty hard to turn his waist as fast as he needs to. It was most apparent Sunday against the Chiefs when receiver Michael Crabtree got open deep for what should have been a touchdown and Carr’s throw fell short.

According to Pro Football Focus, last year Carr had a quarterback rating of 118.6 on his deep balls compared to 58.6 this year. He didn’t forget how to throw a deep ball over the offseason either, he’s just too beat up to do what he did last year.

No, this does not excuse offensive coordinator Todd Downing for his decisions. You can’t excuse using DeAndre Washington over Marshawn Lynch on a big 3rd-and-1. And receiver Amari Cooper shouldn’t be a lead blocker on a pitch run when he has an ankle is injury.

That said, Carr isn’t the superstar he was last year that made up for a lot of deficiencies. He’s the one that’s deficient physically and psychologically now because of his injuries. So Raider Nation just needs to bare with him for the rest of this year and wait until next year to get the MVP candidate QB back.