Regardless of where you stand on the Derek Carr debate, you should be pleased with his performance in 2020. The Las Vegas Raiders quarterback is having arguably the best season of his career and a change of mindset could be one of the reasons why.
The Raiders are getting the most out of Derek Carr this season
When it comes to Carr, there are pretty much two parties. The one that advocates for a change of quarterback and the one that believes he’s among the NFL’s top echelon. Putting aside absolutes, the truth about his career may lie in somewhere in between. He’s definitely not bad and currently holds many Raiders records.
On the other hand, the fact he can’t score enough points on offense weighs against him. It’s true that he hadn’t had a competent group of wide receivers until this season -2016 is the exception- and has lacked a superb surrounding cast throughout his career, but the best ones win despite the obstacles. In previous seasons, Carr seemed overwhelmed and when the Raiders lost, they did so in ugly fashion.
Even though Carr had solid individual numbers, the team didn’t win a lot. However, things look different this year. Not only is he putting good numbers, but he’s also showing he can take over games and help the Raiders win games because of him, not in spite of him.
Against the Kansas City Chiefs, Carr looked poised and confident. Moreover, he took more shots downfield than usual and the Raiders ended up winning the game 40-32. The quarterback was one big reason for it. It seems like he’s approaching the game in a different manner.
How is Carr approaching the game against the Buccaneers?
Before the season started, Carr said that he was tired of pleasing people. He mentioned that he had paid too much attention to what others said but now he would just focus on his thing. We have to keep in mind that words come and go and actions speak louder and we can’t just turn off a switch to stop caring. Changing behaviors takes time and plenty of work.
Not long ago, Carr was asked a question about injuries the team had and answered, ‘blame me, I’m used to it‘. That’s not the kind of response you expect from someone that doesn’t care about the noise. During the offseason, he got into a petty argument with a fan that questioned why he didn’t welcome his new teammates. Again, that’s not the mindset of a person that doesn’t pay attention to what others say.
Nevertheless, Carr has looked more focused on his craft and he’s acting accordingly. In his latest press conference, he said the only thing he’s worried about is winning games, not numbers not accolades.
#Raiders QB Derek Carr:
´'My focus is on 1 thing and 1 thing only, and that is winning these football games. I've done the numbers thing, I've done the Pro Bowl things and none of that means anything without winning the championship.'
— Carlos Sánchez (@HaeruHariken) October 21, 2020
Carr is right, Pro Bowls and other accolades are nice but the end goal in football is to win games. The more a quarterback wins, the more respect he will garner. Similarly, the more a team wins, the more national attention it will receive. If the Raiders haven’t gotten too much recognition in recent seasons, it’s because they haven’t won many games.
Do you remember the 2016 season? The moment the Raiders started winning was when everyone was talking about them. This year or any for that matter is not any different. When the Silver and Black wins, they get attention, which has been the case this year and that has been in part thanks to Derek Carr, their starting quarterback.
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Top Photo: Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group