If history has taught us anything it’s that Derek Carr will be flourishing in Year 3 under head coach Jon Gruden and barring any unexpected news, the Las Vegas Raiders will have their signal-caller going forward.
A Good Offense Needs Playmakers at WR
Statistically speaking, Derek Carr is poised to make the leap in his third year under Gruden, much like quarterback Rich Gannon once did in the head coach’s first stint.
Let’s not forget the Raiders improved their previous win total; going from 4-12 in 2018 to 7-9 last season; which is a sign of progress and noteworthy as Carr accomplished this with a revolving door at wide receiver, a group in which a fifth round pick was the standout. That’s not a knock on Hunter Renfrow, but rather evidence of the lack of game changing talent the signal-caller had at his disposal. Moving forward, Carr will be given another chance, and this time with improved talent. General Mike Mayock said so himself recently in an interview with Eddie Paskal. As much as Gannon is revered, the fact is, he was surrounded by excellent talent by year three. In fact, he had two NFL Hall of Fame wide receivers.
I think we’ve got a good offensive line and what we have to do is a better job of supporting him with some more wide receiver talent, the ability to catch the football, uh, the ability to spread the ball around a little bit. You know, Derek handled everything Jon threw at him mentally. I thought he progressed at a rapid rate in year two in Jon’s system.
-Mayock regarding Carr’s supporting cast
Year Three Tendency Under Gruden
Gannon’s completion percentage steadily went up in each of his first three seasons under Gruden. Going from 59.0 to 60.0 and then to 65.0 respectively. His total completions also skyrocketed in the third year, going from 304 to 284 and later 361. Oh, and as a bonus, in his fourth year his total was 418 completions. Other than his rookie year, Carr’s completion percentage has never dipped below the 60th percentile. Even more interesting is that in his two previous seasons, he’s had his highest completion percentage in his career, 68.9 and 70.4 respectively. While Gannon didn’t play in the QBR era, Carr saw that number increase as well, from 46.9 to 63.7, while his yards per completion also went up. Carr’s jump was from 10.6 to 11.2, Gannon’s in comparison remained even at 12.6 and 12.6, only to see it drop funny enough in his third year to 10.6.
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The stat that everyone looks at when comparing quarterbacks is naturally their touchdowns. Carr in his first two years under Gruden threw for 40 touchdowns and had 18 interceptions. Retrospectively, Gannon threw 52 touchdowns with 25 interceptions before his third year. You can look at this two ways depending on how you feel about Carr. Either Carr was more efficient by comparison to Gannon which is a good sign judging on touchdowns alone which can be backed up by the numbers. Or two, Carr had 1,066 passing attempts while Gannon had 988 meaning the latter accomplished more by doing less. Pick your poison here, either way, Carr’s trending up.
Derek Carr and Raider Nation
Fans this offseason may want to get on Carr’s case after the team sat at 6-4 to only falter the rest of the way. There’s definitely room for criticism, but Carr was running Gruden’s play calling and conservative dink and dunk offense. Another tidbit was that Gannon had an even better fourth year in route to a Super Bowl appearance though it was without Gruden. Does this mean Raider Nation has to wait another two years? Perhaps, but unless Raiders pulls the trigger on something big, Carr isn’t going anywhere.
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