A lot has changed with the Raiders since Derek Carr joined the team as their second round pick in the 2014 draft. He has been through four head coaches and just as many offensive coordinators. Every single position on the offense has a different player than when he began. Now the man who drafted him is gone too.
“He drafted me. He gave me my chance,” Carr said of Reggie McKenzie who was fired as GM on Monday.
Shortly after Carr heard the news, he reached out to McKenzie and as he described it, the two of them shared a series of long texts messages.
“Any success that I have, I hope that you feel a part of it,” Carr said he told McKenzie. “Whatever I do — hopefully I’ll win a lot of games and do some fun things — I hope that you feel good about it because I want you to know that you’re a big reason for it.”
McKenzie had watched a great many of his highly drafted players either released or traded in the past few months since Jon Gruden took over as head coach. Many of those players Carr had developed a relationship with, especially fellow 2014 draft pick Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper who was the team’s top pick in 2015 to be Carr’s number one receiver. Both were traded since the start of the season, putting the total McKenzie draft picks no longer on the team at 18.
This kind of turnover in the roster, coaching staff, and now the front office is something Carr says he never envisioned when he came into the league, but he has seen a considerable number of players cycle through. Namely just the faces he sees in the locker next to him.
“It’s crazy, man. My brother warned me about stuff like this. Because he played for 12 years and I was like ‘No, man.’ You get here and it’s just rainbows and butterflies, man, you made it to the NFL and all of the sudden you got new friends every year. I’ve counted man, I’ve had like 27 different people in the locker next to me in five years.”
There are just two players on the active roster who were on the roster during Carr’s rookie season. They are the two players drafted after him in the 2014 draft; Gabe Jackson and Justin Ellis and just 15 other players who were on the roster LAST SEASON.
“There’s been a lot of turnover, man. Not only in the last five years, but the last 12 months. A lot of turnover, a lot of different things; systems, players, obviously GM, coaches, all of that.“
“When you look around and see very few familiar faces from the beginning. It puts it in perspective for sure.”
There is now a very real chance that in two weeks the Raiders will play their last game in Oakland. We were all prepared for that eventually in 2020 with the team relocating to Las Vegas, not two weeks from now. It’s a possibility that Carr says “just seems weird.”
For a guy who has already in the throes of his second rebuild as Raiders QB and all the turnover that comes with that, pretty soon even where they play will turn over. Leaving very little of anything that resembles the Raiders as he — or any of us — once knew even a short time ago.