Despite making the Pro Bowl as an alternate, 2017 was a disappointing year for Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr. The Raiders struggles clearly were not all on Carr, but he didn’t have the magic that he had the year before. He was anxious in the pocket, rushing his throws and choosing the check down option too often while other times trying to do too much.
His disappointing season could be just a fluke. However, two poor years could be the start of a pattern, one that Derek Carr desperately needs to avoid.
Just the one rough season put him in the back half of QB rankings on NFL.com and has his fantasy projections being seriously shorted. Another bad year could take away his Franchise QB status. By that same token a great year could jump him right back to the top tier of quarterbacks in the league and possibly back into MVP conversation.
This year would be extremely important to Carr’s legacy no matter what, but the addition of a QB guru like Jon Gruden as coach puts even more pressure on Derek Carr to return to form. Never before has he had such experts surrounding him to help him succeed, which makes it all the more important that he does.
Gruden and the Raiders know exactly how big of a year this is for Carr too, and they moved aggressively to improve the receiving corp to ensure he has what he needs right away.
Gone is Michael Crabtree and in comes Jordy Nelson, Martavis Bryant and Ryan Switzer. That is a serious influx of talent added alongside Amari Cooper and gives the Raiders great versatility with all the different line-ups that can be utilized with this deep of a roster of pass catchers.
With more tools to work with comes less excuses if things go wrong, and trust me when I say that if things go wrong in the passing game that it will be Carr who takes the blame. Right or wrong, the QB takes too much of the credit when things go right and they get too much of the blame when they go wrong. This is the NFL world that we all know, and it is extremely unforgiving when things don’t go according to plan.
Another disappointing year won’t lead to Carr being replaced all together, but he would no longer be seen as untouchable. It’s his legacy in danger if he doesn’t play some of the best football of his career, but something tells me that is exactly the motivation he needs to succeed.