Derek Carr and the “fire within”
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr had his season end early and as a result didn’t get a chance to take part in the playoffs. Rehabilitation forced him to sit and be immobile for the first time in his young career yet in spite of that, he’s rededicated himself to his craft. You could say that the rest of league has been put on notice.
NFL coaches and experts will tell you that a good player will have a breakout year by year three. Carr was sensational last season which made recounting his many exploits such a good time. Entering his fourth year in the league and third year in this offense, he has that all important sense of familiarity; which is as necessary to a quarterback as a paintbrush is to an artist.
Carr’s mastering the game of football and knows that both learning its intricacies and studying his own shortcomings as a passer will only strengthen him and make him better. Achieving greatness is about constantly seeking ways to improve and even if it’s as small as a lead-foot placement in an out breaker, he’ll drill it until he gets it right.
This offseason’s focus has been ball placement, an upper echelon concern. In the NFL, just getting the ball in the general vicinity of a receiver’s hard enough; possessing the ability to put the ball where only your receiver can get to it is so elite that only a few can do it. For Carr to be in the position to set his receivers up to run after catch opportunities will only further the offense.
Carr’s talent level, attention to detail and habits continue to remind players of Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Tight end Jared Cook is the latest to dish on the awesome comparison of a fourth-year man to arguably one of the best active quarterbacks today.
“He’s (Carr) a great quarterback great skills great leader excited to be in the huddle with him he’s very communicative tells you exactly how he wants routes how he wants you to run them and talks to you if something goes awol a lil bit.”
-Jared Cook on Carr
September 10, 2017, can’t get here any faster for Carr and Raider Nation alike…
“I have to slow down and I have to take a step back and make sure I’m not doing too much. I got to know that I have to be consistent in the way I do those kind of things and I have to do it in such a way that it’s what coach Downing wants.”
The “Elephant in the Room”
There’s something not many people have pointed out if any; Bill Musgrave was holding this team back and anyone who has watched the game tape will be able to tell. Musgrave seemingly scripted his whole game plan and when Carr was free-wheeling to make up for a lack of evolution in the playcalling, it was plain as day. This phenomenon was not lost on head coach Jack Del Rio, who noticed it all year-long as well.
“There’s little things that when you learn you get experience playing all these football games. Like I know what beats this coverage lets do that. Why wait? Why turn it on on Monday and be like wish we would have?”
How do you hold back the number six scoring offense in the league? Yes, Musgrave was the architect of the Raiders offensive machine. Have I lost my mind or taken too many prescription meds? The answer is a flat no and there’s a reason why.
Carr won the Castrol Gtx Clutch Player of the Year Award in part because the team was playing from behind more often than not. Most glaring were the times when hot hands would get ignored and pass plays were called in running situations and vice versa. Carr and all of the Raiders have been consummate professionals when it comes to Musgrave. No one would question the calls of any coaches, or throw dirt on his name; however, when it became “nut-cutting time”, Carr would do what he had to do. He may have been a young quarterback but as evidenced by his colossal 2016, it would appear “he’s got this.”
Digging and sifting through layers, being a member of the old guard might have adversely affected the quarterback-coordinator relationship; Musgrave wouldn’t relinquish his grip on the offense to his quarterback even though it was in the team’s best interest. Moreover, it’s said that Musgrave would not accept outside ideas and wasn’t willing to implement additions which were not his own.
Todd Downing to the rescue
To me the quarterback is an extension of the play caller anyways. I think he and I having the relationship that we have and understanding the way we think about football is probably about as dynamic as that analogy needs to get.
-Downing on giving Carr freedom at the line of scrimmage
Downing has reinspired an already lively football team; a member of the new school and clearly unafraid to hand the offensive reins to his quarterback. He has been elemental in catapulting him to superstardom over the last two years. Few offensive coordinators take the job with the level of understanding for their quarterback that Downing has with Carr. Downing knows everything about Carr including what he likes and what he doesn’t like. They share such a close rapport that knowing what each other is thinking is as easy as reading each other’s body language.
The future’s looking up and hopefully, Carr will hopefully respond to Downing as the head man as well as he did when he was the quarterbacks’ coach.