In the two weeks since Jon Gruden departed as head coach, Las Vegas Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr has elevated his role in the organization even more.
Carr admitted that he has felt the need to increase his leadership role after the Gruden-fueled turmoil. This came after interim head coach Rich Bisaccia said: “Derek is the voice of the Raiders right now. Players always want to listen to him. They always go to him. They ask him all types of things.”
“I talked to C-Wood [Charles Woodson] about this,” Carr told reporters after the Raiders beat the Philadelphia Eagles 33-2 win on Sunday. “When Coach Gruden would walk a room, all eyes are on him. When we lost that, someone has to fill that void. It’s not only me, but obviously as the quarterback and leader and I’ve been here awhile, I was like, I got to take that part of what I do to another level. Some of the stuff I did when other coaches were here, I would always go over there and talk to Khalil [Mack] or talk to Jelly [Justin Ellis] or talk to the defense and get them going, C-Wood, all those guys. Now I’m just trying to do everything I can to encourage, uplift and motivate the guys to keep going in every situation. It’s not only me, but I appreciate (Bisaccia) saying that.”
Of course, the atmosphere after Gruden’s departure has changed for the better because the Raiders have responded with two wins to improve to 5-2. they are in first place in the AFC West and they are tied for the best record in the AFC. Carr said the winning surely helps the mood around the organization.
“We’re having a blast, winning is fun, that’s for sure,” Carr said. “Losing in the NFL is hard on everybody. But when you win, it’s a lot of fun and right now we are having a lot of fun. If I pulled up my notes, the last note I always write Saturday night, I wrote the last couple of weeks is just have fun, and I underlined the exclamation point. Sometimes you forget that among a lot of the questions, a lot of the things going on, it’s still a game. You got to remind yourself to still have fun when you hit the field.
I think the last two weeks I just try to remind myself of that, for sure, I’m glad that you see that cause we are having fun. It is something that we are preaching, have fun, have a blast. We work too hard to up there uptight, be free, have fun, cut it loose. Like I said, winning is what makes it fun, but I think that the guys are making plays, the expression, the swagger that our team is showing is coming out and it’s fun.”
And Carr (who completed 31 of 34 passes against the Eagles) is not only leading off the field, but he’s leading the way on the field with his spectacular play.