On Thursday local Bay Area radio station 95.7 The Game posed a question:
You have ONE season, same team, same personnel. Which Bay Area quarterback would you have at the helm?
— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) August 16, 2018
Let’s look at the FACTS to this argument and why Carr is the logical choice here.
Each of these quarterbacks is now entering their fifth season in the NFL, but Carr has been a starter since day one, appearing in 62 of 64 games while Garoppolo has started seven games over that time span. This article is not to suggest Garoppolo isn’t a good option because he has a promising future. In fact, he’s undefeated as a starter, 7-0. Despite the short-term success of Garoppolo, Carr’s full body of work should far outweigh the sample serving size of Jimmy G.
Before we dive into Carr’s career achievements, let’s take a quick look at Garoppolo’s seven games as a starter.
His first two starts in New England were pretty phenomenal, with a combined 496 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Once in the Bay, Garoppolo led the one-win Niners over the three-win Bears in a game that wasn’t necessarily won because of Garoppolo but the leg of Robbie Gould with five field goals. The next game came against the Texans who were without the services of Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt and, Whitney Mercilus. He did, however, put together two solid performances to beat the Titans and Jaguars. His last victory over this stretch came against the Rams, but don’t let the headlines fool you. The USA Today used a somewhat misleading headline with, “Garoppolo, 49ers beat playoff-bound Rams 34-13” while The Los Angeles Times used straightforward lingo, “Rams sit starters, lose 34-13 to the 49ers”. Regardless of how he got the wins, no one can discredit Garoppolo in this regard. His record is spotless (for now).
After throwing four touchdown passes against the Legion of Boom (RIP) in the final preseason game in 2014, Carr was named the starter as a rookie. Carr would go on to throw for over three thousand yards and 21 touchdowns. Despite reports that he wouldn’t start.
It'll take something "catastrophic" for Raiders rookie QB Derek Carr to start this year. Coach Dennis Allen is firmly committed to Schaub.
— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) May 21, 2014
His top three receiving targets? James Jones, Mychal Rivera and, Andre Holmes. Talented enough to be in the NFL, but all things considered, an underwhelming group. Upon getting an upgraded receiving corps in 2015, Carr’s numbers would spike up as he threw for 3,987 yards and 32 touchdowns in his sophomore campaign. After two years in the league, Carr threw for the second most touchdown passes in NFL history (53), second to only Dan Marino.
Despite his 2016 season being cut short due to an injury, Carr had an electrifying third season as a pro, throwing for 3,937 yards and 28 touchdowns. Winning games in the waning moments became a regular thing for Carr and he was awarded the Castrol Edge Clutch Performer of the Year.
— Evert Geerlings (@E_Geerlings) February 5, 2017
By this point Carr had thrown for 81 touchdown passes in his career…good enough for No. 4 all time. Out of the five quarterbacks to reach 80 touchdowns or more after three seasons, only Carr did so while staying under 40 interceptions.
— ProFootballReference (@pfref) December 27, 2016
Despite Carr not performing to expectation in 2017, he still threw for over three thousand yards and surpassed the twenty touchdown marker once again. Carr undoubtedly took a step back last season with a lower passer rating than the previous two seasons, but it appears many people across the NFL community have dubbed it far more than just a little regression. Meanwhile, a simple five games in SF is all it took to launch Garoppolo atop the NFL ranks for some.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com ranked his top 32 quarterbacks as we head into this upcoming season. He’s got Garoppolo at No. 12 while Carr is five slots back at No. 17. His logic behind ranking Garoppolo so high is a such, “If the 49ers can make him the highest-paid quarterback in football after five starts in San Francisco, I can rank him this high.” Rosenthal appears to have no problem looking at the full (but small) body of work for Garoppolo in SF, but has a blind eye when it comes to Carr as his 2017 “step back” has apparently outweighed his previous feats.
During this “down” year for Carr, he managed to cement himself in NFL history as one of only five quarterbacks to eclipse 100 touchdowns after four seasons. All of these wonderful accomplishments for Carr all the while his receivers have been the worst at one thing…CATCHING THE BALL! Carr’s numbers could very well be even more eye-popping than they already are. Despite the catching struggles, Carr has still managed to succeed.
Since 2014, no quarterback in the NFL has more passes dropped than #Raiders QB Derek Carr. We look at this and other causes for his struggles in 2017, and reasons for optimism in 2018: https://t.co/Yaf64e84sr pic.twitter.com/AqJXXPfKJj
— PFF OAK Raiders (@PFF_Raiders) June 7, 2018
As he approaches his fifth season in Oakland, Carr has dealt with four head coaching changes, his first of which came mid-season as a rookie. Another speed bump in Carr’s development has been the lack of consistency with an offensive coordinator. Carr has handled this surprisingly well as he is now on his fourth offensive coordinator in five seasons. The most recent change brings back Greg Olson but this time it’s with an offensive-minded head coach in Jon Gruden.
Garoppolo may have had a better upbringing in the NFL in terms of shadowing Tom Brady with Bill Belichick and now working under Kyle Shanahan, but even with a plethora of coaching changes, Carr’s high level of play has remained consistent.
With a full body of work compared to a mere seven games as a starter, Carr is the obvious choice here if you ask me and it’s not even close. What are your thoughts?