Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr

Las Vegas Raiders 2022 Rewind: QB Derek Carr

At the helm of a new regime, the Las Vegas Raiders franchise looked to be trending upward. Dave Ziegler and the Raiders’ brass started 2022 by locking up the Raiders’ key players. The extended players included Derek Carr, Hunter Renfrow, Maxx Crosby, and Darren Waller. The front office even went as far as facilitating a trade for star wide receiver Davante Adams. By doing so, they reunited Carr with his friend and former Fresno State weapon. After a 2021 playoff appearance and a willful season from Carr, these were the last steps towards becoming contenders. Well, at least we thought so.

What went wrong for Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders?

Carr was off from the jump, throwing three interceptions in Week 1 to lose against the Los Angeles Chargers. Although his connection with Adams hadn’t skipped a beat, it was a sign of things to come. The Raiders fell to 2-4 as the season progressed due to poor coaching and inexcusable blown leads against Arizona and Kansas City. Carr was playing mediocre football, but the real fall from grace came in Weeks 8 through 10.

Carr struggled mightily against a lackluster New Orleans Saints defense, failing to cross the fifty-yard line before being benched for backup Jarrett Stidham. The next week, Carr and the Raiders’ offense failed to score any second-half points, allowing the Jaguars to win in a gut-wrenching comeback. Finally, the Indianapolis Colts, led by first-time interim coach Jeff Saturday, came to town. Carr played better but was outplayed in crunch time by a declining Matt Ryan.

The nail in Carr’s coffin came in Week 14, when the Raiders took on the Los Angeles Rams. The opposing quarterback, Baker Mayfield, had been with the club only three days before kickoff. Despite this, Carr was outplayed. Much to the chagrin of Raider Nation, Mayfield outdueled Carr in an epic Raiders collapse. Carr mustered an uninspiring 137 yards, zero touchdowns, and two interceptions on only 20 pass attempts. No. 4 would play two more games, throwing for a combined four touchdowns and four interceptions. Not exactly numbers that stand out, right? He was then benched one final time.

What happens next?

In his heartfelt goodbye to Raider Nation, Carr stated he still desires to win a championship elsewhere. The Raiders would prefer to deal Carr, although it isn’t guaranteed. For the time being, Carr has yet to waive his no-trade clause. The Raiders can release the nine-year veteran if he so desires. This will allow him to choose his destination if he believes he can sign a similar contract. But this is a big “if.” Carr is coming off a season where he completed 60.8 percent of passes, his worst since his rookie year. Yet, clubs will be interested in the veteran signal caller. If traded, the Raiders will have to sort out a deal, as they have three days after the Super Bowl to do so. Even so, the trade isn’t guaranteed for the Raiders, as a team can change its mind when the new league year begins.

Final thoughts Carr and his Las Vegas Raiders career

Despite the war waging in Raider Nation, there are only two truths. The first point to make is that Carr is not the issue. In nine seasons with the Raiders, Carr had six different head coaches. The 31-year-old vet sat through three rebuilds, bottom-tier defenses, countless distractions, and scandals while remaining an admirable leader. Carr played through a fractured back, fractured finger, MCL sprain, bruised ribs, and more while missing three career games due to injury. In the club’s only two playoff appearances since 2002, Carr almost single-handedly led the team. Before his injury on that heartbreaking Christmas Eve in 2016, Carr would’ve taken the Raiders on a massive playoff run while garnering MVP votes along the way. To say Carr didn’t want to win would be a lie.

The second truth is that Carr is not the solution. Josh McDaniels and Co. had some ugly growing pains in 2022, but Carr’s play as a nine-year veteran was far from ideal. In 15 games, Carr had 3,522 yards and a 2.8 interception percentage. It’s time for both sides to move on. Currently, the league is dominated by Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, and other superstar quarterbacks who are currently emerging. It isn’t unfair, nor is it a knock on Carr, to prefer risking it all for a quarterback to put the franchise over the top. The greatest quarterbacks can elevate those around them and win in an imperfect environment. Carr was good, but it’s time to catch up with the rest of the AFC. It’s time to win.

*Top Photo: AP Photo/John Locher

Join The Ramble Email List

error: Nice Try!
Subscribe to RaiderRamble

Get updates from RaiderRamble via email:

Join 5,872 other subscribers