Time for Raiders’ $125M QB Derek Carr to pull team out of tailspin

Updated October 18, 2017 - 10:20 pm

It is, simply, an agreement between two or more parties as to what each will do for the other.

The Raiders in the offseason agreed to offer Derek Carr a five-year contract extension worth $125 million.

He agreed to sign it because, well, he has a brain.

In turn, the assumption was he would continue to perform at a level equivalent to the NFL’s best quarterbacks.

So far, it hasn’t been that great a bargain for the ones writing those big checks.

To place the entirety of blame on Carr and his injured back for why the team’s offense has resembled the blandness of a station wagon over the high-powered Bugatti most predicted for this season wouldn’t fairly summarize all the issues that have contributed to four straight losses.

But heavy is the head that wears the most important of helmets, and it’s on Carr more than anyone to now guide the Raiders out of a current funk that lessens the chance of a playoff berth with each passing loss.

Not that the passing part has been anything to celebrate.

Someone has to step forward and stop the bleeding.

You figure Carr owns the largest tourniquet.

Whether he uses it enough through his play against visiting Kansas City on Thursday night could mean the difference between the Raiders climbing back into a competitive nature this season or continuing a long and dismal reality of merely playing out the schedule.

This isn’t as much an AFC showdown between the first-place Chiefs and a last-place Raiders team hoping to discover some sort of divisional relevance as it is unmitigated survival mode for the hosts.

It’s as close to a must win in Week 7 as the NFL knows.

“We definitely want more,” Carr said. “There’s no doubt about that. We’re going to work, and we’re going to get more. We are because we have a good group. I think we all believe that. I think we all have seen it. It’s not like we’re going out there trying not to make it happen.

“As cliché as we can get, you have to go 1-0 this week. (Kansas City) is a division game, which really counts for two. You want to go out there and beat one of the best teams in football. We have them coming to our place on a short week. So all the challenges are there. Everything is pushing our back against the wall, but one thing I know is we’re going to fight.”

The Raiders are 2-4. Since the 1990 season, just more than 8.5 percent of teams with that start to a season made the playoffs.

It’s not impossible, but it’s hardly a suggested path to postseason life.

Carr missed one game with three fractured transverse processes in his back after taking a knee to the area against the Broncos, but even before he went down and then returned for a loss to the Chargers on Sunday, he and the offense struggled mightily making their way.

There is a new coordinator (Todd Downing) this season, a new running back (Marshawn Lynch), an offensive line that hasn’t played near its lofty reputation and leading wide receivers (Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper) still searching for those deep-ball opportunities so often forecast throughout the summer and training camp.

It’s an offense that lacks the explosion and unpredictability found under former coordinator Bill Musgrave, who seemed to know the ideal snaps on which to expose mismatches, particularly downfield.

Now, Carr is offering games as he did Sunday, when 70 percent of his passes went for 5 yards or fewer. He only attempted three passes of 15 yards or more and has completed just seven such attempts this season.

Never before during his four-year career have Carr’s numbers lacked such a downfield presence, or at least attempts at creating one.

“We definitely want more (big plays),” Carr said. “Now, does that mean we’re going to do anything differently or try to force things? Absolutely not. That’s where you get in trouble. That’s something that I’ve learned in my career. You can’t force it. You just have to work hard and let it happen.

“(Defenses) are definitely trying to take them away. Those kinds of things can be frustrating. That’s kind of something that we’re learning now as we’re seeing teams do that. We’re figuring out ways, ‘Hey man, how can we still be able to do that and create explosive plays?’ ”

They need to block better and run the ball better and catch it a whole lot better. They need to call plays better.

But it all begins with Carr, and while he has won his share embracing a quick spread passing scheme, he needs to find more ways to open up things.

Heavy is the helmet, is right.

It’s time for Carr to prove himself more of a bargain.

Contact columnist Ed Graney at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Raiders Videos
McKenzie shares memory of Gruden coaching in Green Bay
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie shared one of his memories of working alongside head coach Jon Gruden back when they were both in Green Bay.
Vegas Nation: Raiders introduce Jon Gruden as head coach
Bryan Salmond, Ed Graney and Michael Gehlken discuss the Raiders introduction of Jon Gruden as their new head coach, including the unique atmosphere and how Gruden will work with Derek Carr.
Former Raiders discuss what the team and fans can expect from Jon Gruden
Following a press conference to announce Jon Gruden as the Oakland Raiders head coach, former players discussed what it is that he'll bring to the team and the fans.
Jon Gruden news conference highlights
The Oakland Raiders announced Jon Gruden as their head coach on Tuesday at the team headquarters in Alameda, Calif. Gruden previously coached the team from 1998-2001. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mark Davis says the Raiders' edge will come from leadership and coaching
Following a news conference announcing Jon Gruden's return as head coach of the Oakland Raiders, team owner Mark Davis said the Raiders' edge will come from leadership and coaching.
Vegas Nation: Raiders hire Jon Gruden
Michael Gehlken talks about the Raiders decision to hire Jon Gruden as their new head coach.
Vegas Nation: Gruden to be named Raiders head coach
Bryan Salmond and Ed Graney discuss the Raiders hiring of Jon Gruden as their new head coach.
Vegas Nation Stadium Show: Votes to occur in coming meetings
Ed Graney and Rick Velotta talk about the latest news about the Las Vegas Stadium.
Vegas Nation: What Does The Raiders Future Look Like?
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken go over the potential hiring of Jon Gruden and the Raiders performance during the 2017 season.
Raiders’ Crabtree frustrated by lack of playing time to end season
Michael Crabtree expressed his frustration Sunday when asked about his future with the Raiders. The Raiders are expected to part ways with the ninth-year veteran wide receiver this offseason. “I’m out here playing ball,” Crabtree said. “Whatever they ask me to do. Like today, if they only want me to play 10 plays, I’ll play 10 plays." Crabtree started the season hot as the team’s top wideout, catching six touchdowns during the first six games. Crabtree received just three targets against the Eagles on Christmas night and two targets versus the Chargers. Crabtree is owed a $7 million salary in 2018, the third season of a four-year, $34 million extension he signed late in 2015. “I did everything they asked of me. These last two games, I’ve probably had three targets, but nobody saying anything about that," Crabtree said.
Raiders might lure Jon Gruden back to coaching
The Raiders are reportedly pursuing ESPN analyst Jon Gruden to fill their vacant head coaching position. Gruden, 54, has not coached since the 2008 NFL season. “I don’t want to sit here and speculate. There is no news to report,” Gruden told ESPN on Saturday. The NFL Network reported that Davis plans to offer Gruden more than $10 million a year to coach the team with an stake in team ownership. Gruden has been connected with openings in recent years, including a lucrative offer from Indianapolis last season. Gruden was the Raiders head coach from 1998-2001, going 38-26 in four seasons. “I know (Gruden),” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. “I’ve known him for a while. But the (Del Rio firing) is still pretty fresh.”
Raiders fire Jack Del Rio
Following the Raiders loss to the Chargers, head coach Jack Del Rio was fired. Del Rio was hired in January 2015 after spending time as the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator. In 2016, Del Rio led the Raiders to a 12-4 record and their first playoff birth since 2002. After the 2016 season, Del Rio signed a 4-year contract extension. In three seasons as the Raiders head coach, Del Rio amassed a 25-23 record. “I’m very grateful," Del Rio said. "My childhood team. But it’s a results business.”
Vegas Nation: Del Rio fired after Raiders drop season finale
Bryan Salmond, Ed Graney, Michael Gehlken and Gilbert Manzano discuss the aftermath of the Raiders loss, including Jack Del Rio getting fired and what might follow.
Raiders' QB Carr reacts to Del Rio firing
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr addressed the media following the team's loss to the Chargers and discussed his thoughts on head coach Jack Del Rio being fired.
Jack Del Rio announces Oakland Raiders fired him following loss to Chargers
After three years of serving as the head coach for the Oakland Raiders, Jack Del Rio announced he was fired by the organization following the team's loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Nacion Vegas: Raiders pierden 30-10 contra los Chargers
Nacion Vegas: Los Raiders pierden 30-10 contra los Chargers para finalizar la temporada. Nación Vegas tiene los detalles del juego entre los Raiders y los Chargers.
Vegas Nation: Raiders finish the season with a loss to Chargers
Bryan Salmond recaps the Raiders final game of the season.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Ready For Loud Fans
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken goes over how the Raiders are preparing for the potentially loud crowd for the Chargers game.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Prep For Final Game
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken go over how the Raiders are preparing for their final game and the future of Todd Downing.
Vegas Nation Red Zone: Raiders face Chargers for final regular-season game
Vegas Nation Red Zone video host Bryan Salmond and NFL writer Gilbert Manzano discuss the Raiders matchup on New Year's Eve against the Los Angeles Chargers.
UNLV can use Las Vegas Raiders stadium parking lots, agreement shows
UNLV will have access to Las Vegas Raiders stadium parking lots, on and offsite, and collect parking fee revenue from them during UNLV events. Now, all that’s needed are the lots themselves. The regents are expected to ask questions about the joint-use agreement on Jan. 4, then consider its approval on Jan. 19. Some of the key elements of the draft agreement: — UNLV will have access to onsite and offsite stadium parking and tailgating lots, which will be administered by the Raiders with net proceeds of parking sales going to UNLV. — The Raiders will control all concessions at the stadium, but net concession revenue from UNLV events will belong to UNLV.
Vegas Nation: Raiders fail to execute, fall to the Eagles
Michael Gehlken talks about the Raiders loss to the Eagles on Christmas Day, including the Raiders' inability to execute and take advantage of a good defensive performance.
Vegas Nation: David Amerson Will Not Play Monday
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken goes over the Raiders Injury Report and David Amerson being listed as questionable for Monday's game.
Vegas Nation: Penn and Feliciano are done for the season
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken provides an update on several players heading into the Raiders matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Vegas Nation: Offensive line depth taking hits
Bryan Salmond and Michael Gehlken talk about Rodney Hudson playing through kidney stones as well as several Raiders struggling with injuries.
Vegas Nation: Raiders taking Wednesday off
Bryan Salmond and Michael Gehlken talk about the Raiders struggling to digest last week's loss as well as who might replace Donald Penn at left tackle.
Nacion Vegas: Cowboys derrotan Raiders, 20-17
Derek Carr perdió el balón fuera de los límites cerca de la línea de una yarda de los Cowboys con 31 segundos por jugarse. Dallas recuperó la pelota para sellar la victoria.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Fall To Cowboys
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and Review-Journal reporters Michael Gehlken, Gilbert Manzano and Ed Graney recap Sunday night's Raiders 20-17 loss against the Cowboys.
How the Raiders plan to balance their fan base in Oakland and Las Vegas
At the Oakland Raiders groundbreaking ceremony in Las Vegas the team president and owner discussed how they will balance their fan base until they move and how they're planning to deal with any issues they could encounter with the stadium construction.
Raiders remember Las Vegas shooting victims at groundbreaking
During the Oakland Raiders groundbreaking ceremony in Las Vegas, Raiders owner Mark Davis spoke about how important it was to pay tribute to Las Vegas shooting victims at the event.
Raiders break ground on Las Vegas stadium site
The Raiders hosted a ground breaking ceremony at the Las Vegas stadium site near the Strip. Elaine Wilson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like