The Las Vegas Raiders and quarterback Derek Carr are headed for divorce this offseason. Now that this is a certainty, certain information is coming out. Among the tidbits that were recently published by Raiders beat writer Hondo Carpenter were some in relation to Jon Gruden and his belief in Carr’s potential.
Looks like Jon Gruden saw something special in Derek Carr from the outset…
Following a disastrous 2017 season that resulted in Jack Del Rio having to announce his own firing, changes were made. Perhaps no change was bigger than Gruden’s return to the Silver and Black. Upon his arrival, Gruden made it known that Carr was one of the reasons he wanted to coach the Raiders. Well, publicly at least. If you recall, Carr was coming off three straight Pro Bowl nods prior to Gruden’s return. He had thrown for 50 touchdowns in the two seasons before Gruden took the reins. However, Gruden’s offense was supposed to elevate Carr’s potential to another level.
According to Hondo, Gruden wanted to see if Carr was the long-term answer based on their first year together. Owner Mark Davis also shared the same sentiment, per Hondo. However, Davis deferred to Gruden and allowed his new coach to make the call on Carr’s future. Despite an underwhelming 4-12 season, made worse by the Khalil Mack trade, Gruden was impressed. “That kid (Carr) is the real deal,” Gruden told an NFL team official.
Looking back, it’s interesting to see how Gruden’s actions validated this response by the former Raiders head honcho. If you recall, it seemed that every offseason with Jon Gruden at the helm was dominated by rumors and hearsay surrounding Carr. Even so, Gruden stuck to his guns. Unfortunately, Gruden’s tenure never saw the Raiders total double-digit wins in a season. You could argue 2021 was his season too, but it was Rich Bisaccia around whom the team rallied.
As far as the assessment of Carr being the “real deal,” we’ll leave that up to you.
*Top Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images