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Courage award shows truth about Derek Carr, Raiders

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There are a lot of theories as to why the Oakland Raiders took a step back in 2017 but quarterback Derek Carr’s Ed Block Courage award tells the truth.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Why were the Oakland Raiders so disappointing this season?

Some blame the defense but the defense was even worse in 2016 than it is now. They gave up 375. 1 yards per game last year compared to the 349.3 they’re giving up now. They’ve actually played Top-5 defense over the last four games. But they’re only 2-2 in that stretch because the Raiders haven’t done so well on offense lately.

And for that, many blame new offensive coordinator Todd Downing. After all, he did take parts of the offense that weren’t broken and tried to ‘fix’ them. Switching from power blocking to zone blocking and calling a few short passes too many didn’t help.

There are also those believe the conspiracy theory of Miko Grimes, wife of Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes. She told the Breakfast Club radio a while back that the offensive line allowed Derek Carr to get hit and injured. That’s another way of suggesting Carr lost the team.

The truth is you can put much of the blame on Carr. He is the biggest difference between last year’s team and this one. He was an NFL MVP candidate last year and just another guy this year. The two main things that make a QB special is his ability to throw deep and to handle pressure from the rush. Carr did those two things pretty well last year but isn’t so good at them this year.

But some of those who blame Carr are wrong in the way they do so. They say that the Raiders overvalued him and were wrong to give him his huge contract. They could not be any more wrong—the problem, as I see it, is Carr isn’t right from his injuries.

Coming back from a broken fibula last year and a fracture in his back this year isn’t easy. His teammates realize that and voted him in as the Ed Block Courage Award winner.

“Without even just speaking on how much that award meant to me,” Carr said Thursday. “Just the fact that your teammates vote for it, that really touched my heart. Just being candid. It really showed me that obviously I know there’s things I can do better, but it showed me that my teammates still see me for who I am. They still see me grinding through adverse times and those kinds of things.”

It takes roughly six weeks to completely heal from his back injury but Carr missed only one game. So while it affected his play, his teammates showed their appreciation of him coming back from the injury so soon, dispelling any notion that he lost the team.