The most important variable in determining a successful upcoming season for the Oakland Raiders is Derek Carr. If he is the MVP candidate from 2016, then the Raiders will be among the elite in the AFC. If he resembles 2017, all hell will break loose in Oakland.
Former NFL wide receiver and current NFL Network analyst James Jones thinks Carr will be at his best and will surpass his most impressive season of his young career under Jon Gruden.
“Im going Derek Carr,” Jones said on NFL Network on Monday. “All those new pieces over there. 5,000 yards MVP. That’s my hot take.”
Now, that is quite a hot take for a multitude of reasons.
First, Carr has never thrown for more than 4,000 yards in one season.
During his best season, Carr threw for 3,937 yards in 15 games which equals 262.5 yards per game. If he wants to reach the 5,000 yard-mark, he would need to improve his average yards per game by 50 and play in all 16 games.
Second, Carr has had trouble staying healthy over the past two seasons.
Everyone remembers Carr breaking his leg against the Indianapolis Colts. But before that game, Carr broke his finger, albeit a fluke instance, against the Carolina Panthers forcing Carr to take almost every snap from shotgun for the remainder of the season.
Last year, Carr broke bones in his back forcing him to miss the end of the game against the Denver Broncos and the following game against the Baltimore Ravens. Not only did he miss time but the back injury may have adversely affected his play on the field for the rest of the year.
I wouldn’t call Carr injury prone yet, but it has been two seasons in a row that he has missed games with broken bones and, more importantly, had his production suffer once he returned to the field.
The greatest passing season in recent Raiders’ memory was Rich Gannon in 2002 when he threw for 4,689 yards — the year after Gruden left Oakland. In Gannon’s three previous seasons, all with Gruden, he failed to surpass 3,900 yards in a season.
Gannon also had a season average of 7.6 yards per attempt in 2002 while Carr has just averaged 6.5 yards per attempt his entire career.
While I do think it’ll be a great season for Carr and the Raiders on offense under Gruden, especially with all the new weapons at receiver, there is nothing in the past to suggest Carr is inline for a 5,000-yard season.
MVP? That could be a different story.
Will Derek Carr win MVP/throw for 5,000 yards?
This poll is closed
Win MVP and throw for 5,000 yards
Only 5,000 yard season
None of that will happen