Raiders QB Derek Carr Finally Getting Appreciation For What He’s Largely Done Throughout His Career

In a matter of weeks, the national media coverage surrounding Derek Carr has gone from “slightly above average” starting quarterback to now being mentioned on the short list of league MVP candidates.

“[Derek] Carr is writing a tremendous story that not many people saw coming,” NBC Sports’ Peter King wrote after the Raiders’ come-from-behind win against the Dolphins on Sunday. But what King and many others often fail to recognize is that the bigger story behind the Raiders’ undefeated start is probably their defense.

Through 3 games, Gus Bradley’s defensive unit has held three 10-win teams from the 2020 season to an average of 24.0 points-per-game in regulation. The last time the Raiders held opponents to a scoring average under 24 points over the first three games was 2014 – Carr’s rookie year.

Carr has actually started three seasons in his NFL career with an equal or better quarterback rating than what he has after 3 games this year (101.4 rating). Ironically, his MVP-caliber 2016 season (99.1 rating) wasn’t even one of those seasons.

Where Carr probably deserves more credit than other years is that for the first time in his career, he’s playing behind a statistically weak offensive line. The Raiders are among the bottom third in the league as a pass-blocking unit and Pro Football Focus currently has them graded as the worst run-blocking group in the NFL. Carr is also holding onto the football longer in the pocket (something we’ll talk more about soon), which has served him well through the start of the season.

But where would the Raiders be after 3 games without Bradley’s defense?

Jon Gruden’s offense has respectively scored 27, 26, and 28 points in regulation in the first three games. Considering the caliber of the Raiders’ opponents in those weeks, how many games would the Raiders have won with those point totals in the past?

Probably one. Maybe two. Definitely not three.

Carr deserves the credit he’s getting, but it’s interesting how much more appreciation he gets when the Raiders play complementary football.

On Sunday, Carr orchestrated his 26th career game-winning drive in the fourth quarter/overtime.

He’s been doing this for years. It’s nothing new.

The new story is that the Raiders finally have a defense that might allow them to make a little noise in January.

twitter: @raidersbeat


2 thoughts on “Raiders QB Derek Carr Finally Getting Appreciation For What He’s Largely Done Throughout His Career

  1. I would like ro its about time thar the get ehat is comeing i am a big fan of him he is different a top 5 to 7 QB with the right players around him ok he is ways better the what people think he work hard to get whete he at now and he made his teams better because of play big game is yet keep watching more to. He on a M V P season for sure. Kenny Gthe Raider’s Nations i saw him collage he was special the and he showing now in the NFL

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