Raiders Derek Carr is Not to Blame

Derek Carr was a lightning rod of criticism for the Las Vegas Raiders, but that criticism is simply ill-informed at best, or completely click-bait dishonest at worst

We all know that passionate fans are a given with any NFL team, especially when it comes to those of the Las Vegas Raiders. It isn’t easy to watch the team you love and adore fail to clinch a victory week after week, but it is easy to want to place blame on certain individuals or players. Especially those considered leaders.

That’s why we want to tell you that we hear you, Raider Nation. We know that the Las Vegas Raiders did not perform up to the expectations we set at the beginning of the 2020 season, but that’s football. 

At Raider Maven we don't make excuses.  We predicted a 10-6 season and in the modern NFL, there are no moral victories.  2020 was a disappointment.

One of the players giving everything he had in 2020 was Derek Carr. Fans fueled by click-bait seeking national media have been pointing fingers at Carr for the Readers 8-8 record and their collapse after a 6-3 start. But Derek Carr is not the reason this team fell short in the second half of the season.

In the Raiders’ second to last game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Carr completed 21 of 34 passes for a 61.8 percent completion percentage. He threw for one touchdown and had zero interceptions. He drove the team down the field on two separate occasions but could not gain the support he needed from the rest of the team in return.

In their last game against the Denver Broncos, he threw for 371 yards, two touchdowns, and had two interceptions, but still finished with a completion percentage of 63.2 percent.

Despite firing Defensive Coordinator, Paul Guenther, the Raiders defense was the problem. The Raiders lost five of their last seven games (and barely slid by with a 1-point win over the Broncos in week 16), and in the majority of these matchups, the defensive chemistry did not click. Pressure lacked, and the Raiders’ opponents had little to no problem getting past the D-line and putting points on the board.

In the last seven games, the defense allowed an average of 34 points per game. That is 34 points being scored when Derek Carr is nowhere near the ball. So, while it is easy to blame the team leader for the Raiders’ downhill slide the last two months, it just isn’t logical to do so in this instance.

For the season, Carr threw 27 touchdown passes and nine interceptions. He passed for 4,103 yards with a completion percentage of 67.3 percent. His QBR on the season was 71, which is not quite at the elite 75 number, but an offensive roster deficient of starters from injury and the pandemic certainly played a part.  Football is a team sport.

As the Raiders start looking ahead to 2021, you should not expect them to alter the quarterback position in the starting lineup. The defense is losing games for the Silver and Black – not Derek Carr – and that is where the Las Vegas Raiders’ rebuilding focus should remain.

We understand why people are angry, but fueled by a media looking for just another click doesn't make it a reality.  You don't put out a fire by throwing gasoline on it.  

If you want to fix the Las Vegas Raiders, you don't throw away one of the most reliable players on your roster.  Derek  Carr is not to blame.

Derek Carr has recorded 21 fourth-quarter comebacks for the Raiders.  An NFL record.  What is lost, is how big that record would be had many of his fourth-quarter go-ahead drives had been accompanied by a defense that could get a stop.

Derek Carr is not to blame, but it sure is easy to do if you are looking for a click, or are simply ill-informed.

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