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No absolution: Derek Carr holds as much blame as the Raiders

Despite what David Carr thinks, his brother is responsible for state of the franchise, too

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Jacksonville Jaguars
While the Las Vegas Raiders aren’t a paragon of stability, Derek Carr isn’t a paragon of sound quarterback play. Both the Raiders and Carr share blame in the current state of the franchise.
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

David Carr is right to adamantly defend his brother — that’s what big brothers are supposed to do. The quarterback-turned-NFL Network analyst went on television Monday afternoon to wax poetic about his brother Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders.

The elder Carr highlighted his brother’s loyalty to the organization while spotlighting a myriad of reasons it’s a dysfunctional franchise on the league’s own network. David also notes Derek has moved on further cementing the relationship between No. 4 and the Raiders is all but over.

In case you haven’t seen it, take a gander:

David is right the Raiders aren’t the model of success. Since the Silver & Black lost Super Bowl XXXVII in emphatic during the 2002 season, the Raiders have only been to the playoffs twice — in 2016 and 2021 — with Derek at quarterback. During that span, the Raiders have seen 11 head coaches try to right the ship, the most current of which is Josh McDaniels.

And it was McDaniels along with general manager Dave Ziegler that made the seismic pivot on their decision at quarterback. Gone is Derek Carr and in is Jarrett Stidham.

Davis is right that without Derek being the Raiders quarterback, wide receiver Davante Adams doesn’t get traded to the Silver & Black. The QB-WR combo have been longtime friends dating back to their dominance at Fresno State.

But that’s where the David is right ends.

As any good family member would, David tried to insulate Derek from the Silver & Back instability. Whether David meant for it to come off this way or not, he gave his brother a pass for the Silver & Black mess.

You will find no absolution from me.

Dogpile on the organization all you want — it’s warranted. But so is the dissection and criticism of Derek’s play at quarterback. While the Raiders are no paragons of functionality and stability, Derek is no paragon of sound quarterback play. He’s had an equal hand in this mess and absolving him of any blame by stacking the blame purely in the organization’s corner is asinine and facetious, at best.

David pointed out the team shipping off wide receiver Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack as signs of ineptitude. David also pointed out the revolving door at head coach, namely how Gruden was fired. But here’s the kicker, David noted Derek loved Gruden and playing for him. Yet... who was the person who decided neither Cooper nor Mack should be Raiders any longer? You can’t have your hands washed clean if you were a willing participant.

Sure, have spite for how things ended. It was a miserable ending to the misery that preceded it. But to act like the franchise didn’t return the loyalty Derek had for the team is willful ignorance. The Raiders hitched their wagon to No. 4 both philosophically and contractually. The team drew up the contracts and made coaching change after coaching change to get the best out of their franchise quarterback. There were definitely good moments. To say there were none is ridiculous. But there were bad moments, too. You can’t tell Raiders history without Derek Carr being mentioned aplenty, going forward.

However, as with any investment, there’s positive and negative returns. The negatives clearly outweighed the positives and the new Raiders regime decided to change — as David pointed out. After two decades of futility, owner Mark Davis is trusting his power duo of McDaniels and Ziegler to finally steer the franchise in the right direction. The jury is still out and 2022 is an abject failure at 6-10 — potentially 6-11 after this Saturday’s tilt with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The moribund franchise is trying to modernize and the decision at quarterback — painful as it might be — was chief among them in order to change.

That all said, Carr was perfect for the non-modernizing Raiders. While the rest of the league has gone to quarterbacks that can run when needed, the Raiders rolled the dice with Carr for nine seasons.

Instead of finding a mobile quarterback who can not only dodge the barrage of heat from opposing defenses but escape it and make them pay, the Silver & Black stuck with a strong-armed quarterback who had the legs but didn’t use them. While the league transitioned to the athletic signal caller that can throw and run, the Raiders defiantly held steadfast to Carr, like a stubborn person waving their fist at the sky in anger.

And, unsurprisingly, the Raiders rolled snake eyes quite often with Carr. The Silver & Black went against the rising of the tide and got swept away out to sea, floundering.

Time to see if their fortunes change with another quarterback — for better or worse.