Even after quarterback Derek Carr led the Las Vegas Raiders to another comeback victory in the final minutes last Sunday, there was talk on the Internet and in the media that he might not be with the Silver and Black next season.
Coach Jon Gruden and General Manager Mike Mayock must be getting tired of knocking down the rumors.
Raider Maven has repeatedly reported that Gruden and Mayock were satisfied with Carr and his performance. As they should be.
Another media member is now echoing the reports of Raider Maven.
“There’s no intention that the (Raiders) are willing to move off of Derek Carr at this point in time,” NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported on ESPN NFL Sunday Countdown. “Now, Jon Gruden is always looking at quarterbacks and they also have Marcus Mariota under a two-year contract.
“But Carr played well this year and you have to figure they’d like to stick with him going into next year. No intention to move off him at this time.”
The criticism of Carr has reached the point of foolishness. Carr's resume simply speaks for itself, and that resume is impressive. The critics now simply sound like whiners desperately in search of recognition, even if they are wrong.
Carr has no plans of going anywhere, either.
“I’m a Raider, bro,” Carr said. “I’m going to give this place everything I’ve got all the time. I’m going to encourage these guys all the time and we’re going to be all right.”
The Raiders drafted Carr in the second round (No. 36 overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Fresno State and he has been their starter ever since, passing for 26,896 yards and 170 touchdowns in his seven seasons.
Obviously, the game is different these days, but both of those numbers broke franchise records held by legendary Raiders quarterback Kenny “Snake” Stabler, who is enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“I took a moment and just thought about ‘The Snake,’ and his greatness,” Carr said after breaking Stabler’s franchise mark for TD passes in October. “He’s the best man. I just tip my hat to his family, they've been so gracious to me, so loving to me. I wish I could have met him, I wish I could have talked to him, and I wish I could learn from him. I’m thankful.”
Carr, having grown up in California’s San Joaquin Valley, knows all about Stabler because his father was a big fan of “The Snake’s.”
Stabler told this reporter, who covered the Raiders for the Oakland Tribune in the 1970s, before passing away in 2015 that he liked what he saw of Carr in his rookie season the year before when he passed for 3,270 yards and 21 touchdowns against 12 interceptions.
The difference, of course, is that Stabler had a 69-26-1 career record as a starter and led the Raiders to victory in Super Bowl XI, while the Silver and Black is 47-63 with Carr at the helm and made the playoffs only in 2016.
And he couldn’t even play in the wild-card playoff loss to the Houston Texans that season because of a broken leg.
The Raiders started 6-3 this season and seemed to be on their way to the playoffs, but skidded to an 8-8 finish.
Still, Carr said: “I think we’re headed in the right direction.”
Of course, Carr has not had a supporting cast even close to Stabler’s, who was surrounded by Hall of Famers Gene Upshaw, Art Shell, Fred Biletnikoff, Dave Casper, Willie Brown, and Ted Hendricks, and numerous other greats.
Still, these Raiders believe in Carr.
“Coach Gruden has an extensive offense and that’s an understatement,” guard Richie Incognito, who missed most of this season because of an injury, said on the Raider Cody Podcast.
“Derek runs that offense like coach Gruden was out there on the field. Tough situations, fourth-quarter comebacks, the guy is out there just chucking the ball around the field. Two-minute drills are where he excels. Facing the pressure he knows where to get the ball.
“ … We have tremendous confidence in Derek Carr. The way he runs coaches offense, the way he gets us in the right plays, the way he chucks that ball around, distributes the ball. We have a ton of confidence in him and there’s no way he’s going anywhere.”
Carr drove the Raiders 77 yards in the final minutes to Josh Jacobs’ one-yard touchdown run before hitting tight end Darren Waller on a two-point conversion pass with 23 seconds left to give the Silver and Black a 32-31 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
It was the 24th fourth-quarter comeback victory of Carr’s career and fifth this season, according to Pro Football Reference. He had an incredible seven in 2016.
Last-minute victories are something the Raiders have been famous for with quarterbacks Stabler, Daryle Lamonica, George Blanda, Tom Flores, Rich Gannon, Marc Wilson, Jeff Hostetler, and Jay Schroeder.
“Derek made an incredible throw between guys’ arms, and we work on concentration catches all the time,” Waller, who has developed into a star in his two years as a starter with Carr, said of the play.
Carr said of Waller: “That’s my guy.”
And after passing for a career-high 4,103 yards and 27 touchdowns with only nine interceptions this season, Carr remains the Raiders’ guy.
Internet trolls make keyboard inspired statements about football. Derek Carr makes football statements on the football field, and he is emphatic. This is his team. Deal with it.
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