When the pressure is mounting, Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has been a magician. From Carr’s historic 2016 season where he seemingly drove the team to victory in the waning moments on a routine basis, to his epic Thursday Night Football performance against the Chiefs last season, Carr thrives when it matters most.
Pressure isn’t anything new to Carr, in fact, he’s handled his fair share of big moments since his high school days. As a sophomore, Carr served as the backup QB but was placed into the starting role after an injury occurred to the starter. After a solid first year as the varsity quarterback, Carr didn’t buckle under the pressure of the bright Friday Night Lights in Texas as he led his squad to a perfect 13-0 record while throwing for 1,622 yards and 16 touchdown passes in his junior season.
After transferring to Bakersfield Christian High School to finish his senior season, Carr led his former Eagles squad to a 12-1 record including a Central Section Division V Championship. But the pressure on Derek to succeed didn’t stop there, as he committed to Fresno State University, where his brother David Carr donned the No. 8 and set many passing records.
David’s success led him to be the first pick in the 2002 NFL draft to the Houston Texans, but Derek wouldn’t get the same treatment. Despite becoming the all-time leader in Bulldogs history in total passing yards with 12,843 and 113 touchdown tosses and a QB rating of 152.8 over his tenure, Derek wasn’t drafted until the second round of the 2014 NFL draft.
Similar to his high school days in Texas, Carr was originally dubbed the backup in Oakland and was set to be groomed over time to become the starter. If there is ever such a thing as a “high-pressure preseason game” it came in the last exhibition contest of 2014 as the Raiders hosted the Seahawks. An injury to former Raiders QB Matt Schaub placed Carr into the starting lineup. Going against the ‘Legion of Boom’, Carr excelled under the Coliseum lights en-route to completing 11 of 13 pass attempts for 143 yards and three touchdowns, in only two quarters of play. His performance earned him the starting nod heading into his rookie season.
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Carr has shown a unique ability since his teenage years to thrive when under pressure and with a new regime in town along with a re-loaded offensive attack, the pressure is already mounting for Derek Carr to deliver once again.
Recently on Good Morning Football via NFL Network, they discussed which quarterback is under the most pressure in 2018:
Why Derek Carr & Joe Flacco are the franchise QBs under the most pressure in 2018.
— NFL (@NFL) May 26, 2018
The upcoming season will certainly place loads of pressure on Carr to handle, but as his track record shows, he is not only ready to take on the moment but to succeed in it as well.
Raider Nation, will Derek Carr re-establish his MVP-like dominance he showed in 2016 or will it be a year of adjustment? Let us know in the comments!