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Carr the Latest in a Long Line of Outstanding Raiders QBs

Regardless of what his critics think, Derek Carr is the latest in a long line of outstanding quarterbacks for the legendary Las Vegas Raiders franchise.

Derek Carr of the Las Vegas Raiders is only the latest in a long line of outstanding quarterbacks in franchise history that goes all the way back to their first season in the inaugural year of the American Football League in 1960.

The 30-year-old Carr, who has broken a number of the regular season and career franchise records in the last few seasons, grew up in Bakersfield in the San Joaquin Valley and went to Fresno State, one of several Raiders quarterbacks from California.

Also from the Valley are Tom Flores of Sanger and University of the Pacific in Stockton, who was the Raiders’ first starting quarterback in 1960, and Daryle Lamonica of Clovis, another Valley town, and Notre Dame, who led the Silver and Black to their first Super Bowl after the 1967 season.

Of course, Jim Plunkett of San Jose and Stanford quarterbacked the Raiders to victories in Super Bowls XV and XVIII, while Jay Schroeder is from Pacific Palisades and UCLA, and Carson Palmer was born in San Jose but grew up in Southern California and played at USC.

Despite all these homegrown star quarterbacks, Carr and most other observers believe that Kenny “Snake” Stabler of Foley, Ala., was the best quarterback in Raiders history.

“(Stabler) is the G.O.A.T., man,” Carr said when he broke Snake’s Raiders record for career passing yards in a 2019 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. “He’s the gold standard for Raider quarterbacks and he’s someone that as I grew up, that’s all I heard about in stories from my Dad. He was the first football player I ever knew about.

“There’s only 32 men in the history of this game who can say they were a team’s all-time leading passer. I think that in its own right is pretty special, but again, let’s not get it twisted, Kenny is the G.O.A.T.”

For those who don’t know what that means, it’s “The Greatest of All-Time.”

Carr has passed for 31,700 yards and another record of 193 touchdowns, but unfortunately has only a 57-70 mark in his eight seasons and has led the Raiders to the playoffs twice, but his backers will tell you that he was not surrounded by the All-Pros and Hall of Famers that Stabler, Plunkett and Rich Gannon had around them.

Hall of Famer Stabler is No. 2 on the Raiders all-time career passing list with 19,070 yards and 150 touchdowns, but of course, he had wide receivers Cliff Branch and Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff, Hall of Fame tight end Dave Casper, and Hall of Fame linemen Jim Otto, Gene Upshaw and Art Shell in front of him.

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Stabler, who played for Hall of Fame Coach John Madden, posted a 69-26-1 record, including a 32-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and led the Raiders to five American Football Conference Championship Games.

No. 3 in Raiders history is Gannon, who threw for 17,585 yards and 114 touchdowns between 1999 and 2004, leading them to a 45-29 record and to Super Bowl XXXVII, where they lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 48-21, at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

Lamonica, the famed “Mad Bomber,” is No. 4 with 16,655 passing yards and 148 touchdowns with an impressive 62-16-6 record between 1967 and 1974, taking the Raiders to Super Bowl II, where they lost to Coach Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers, 33-14, at the Orange Bowl in Miami.

Plunkett, the 1970 Heisman Trophy winner when he led Stanford to victory over 27-17 victory over heavily favored Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, was signed by Al Davis of the Raiders after he was beaten up early in his career with the New England Patriots.

Davis told Plunkett to take his time getting back on track, and eventually, Plunkett finished No. 5 in Raiders history with 12,665 passing yards and 80 touchdowns between 1979 and 1986, compiling a 38-19 record, and wasn’t even the starting quarterback at the beginning of either season in which he led the Silver and Black to those two Super Bowl victories.

Hall of Famer Flores, who later coached the Raiders to victories in Super Bowls XV and XVIII, is only No. 7 with 11,635 yards and 92 touchdowns, but definitely would be higher had he not contracted tuberculosis and missed the 1962 season. His record is only 30-31 as the Raiders struggled in those early years, but he led them to a 10-4 mark in 1963 that began the franchise turnaround.

So, Carr has known from the time he was drafted by the Raiders in the second round, No. 36 overall in 2014, that he has a lot to live up to, and without some of the assets the other quarterbacks have had, he has met the Raiders’ legacy at the position—despite what his critics might say.

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