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
Vegas Nation Mailbag 10-16-2018
Elaine Wilson and Gilbert Manzano discuss The Raiders 27-3 loss to the Seahawks in London as The Raiders enter their bye week.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Fall To Seahawks; Cooper Out With Concussion
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken, Sports Columnist Ed Graney and sports writer Gilbert Manzano go over the Raiders loss to the Seattle Seahawks in London.
Derek Carr says the team will focus on improving – Heidi Fang
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr says the team will do what's necessary to improve following its 27-3 loss in London to the Seattle Seahawks.
Gruden on the Raiders loss to the Seahawks, Cooper's injury – Heidi Fang
Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden talks to media following the team's 27-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in London, England.
A look at NFL sports betting in London
With the NFL introducing England to different teams each year since 2007, Review-Journal columnist Ed Graney asked fans in London ahead of the Oakland Raiders vs. Seattle Seahawks how often they flock to them to place wagers on American football.
Would the NFL be accepted abroad?
Review-Journal columnist Ed Graney takes to the streets of London, England, ahead of the Oakland Raiders facing the Seattle Seahawks to find out if the NFL is accepted, if the game is understood and what its fan base is like outside of the United States.
Vegas Nation: Gruden Recaps Loss to LA Chargers
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken reports from Alameda, Calif. as the team looks ahead to London following a loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Fall To 1-4 This Season
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken goes over the Raiders loss to the Chargers.
Raiders coordinators rave about Lynch's running style
Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther talk about Marshawn Lynch's style of running, and what he means to the team.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Defense Looks to Prevent Big Plays
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken talks about the team's renewed focus on preventing big plays from the other team's offense, as the Raiders go into Los Angeles allowing the 27th most yards per game.
Vegas Nation Mailbag: Week 5
Elaine Wilson and Gilbert Manzano answer all your burning Raiders questions leading up to their week 5 match up with Chargers.
Vegas Nation: Raiders O-Line Battling Injuries
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken talks about Donald Penn being moved to the Raiders' injured reserve list, as well as other injuries on the team's offensive line.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Look Ahead to Rival L.A. Chargers
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken recaps the controversial calls in Sunday's victory over the Cleveland Browns, the effect Donald Penn's injury could bring, and the reinstatement of cornerback Daryl Worley.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Win Close Game Against Browns In OT
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken, sports columnist Ed Graney and sports writer Gilbert Manzano goes over the Raiders overtime win against the Cleveland Browns.
Vegas Nation: McCrane, rookie specialists practice at Coliseum on Friday
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken talks about how the team's rookie kicker, holder and long snapper are preparing for kicking off the Coliseum dirt. Gehlken also provides an injury update ahead of the Raiders' Week 4 game against the Cleveland Browns.
Vegas Nation: Paul Guenther Speaks on New Rules
Bryan Salmond is in studio as beat writer Michael Gehlken reports from Alameda where Paul Guenther spoke out about the new roghing the passer rules on the NFL.
Raiders Stadium Construction - Sept. 27, 2018
Raiders Stadium construction video on September 27th, 2018. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Nation: Derek Carr Speaks on Hayes Torn ACL
Host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat-writer Michael Gehlken cover William Hayes's torn ACL from Sundays game, in which he suffered from trying not to land on Derek Carr.
Vegas Nation Mailbag: Week 4
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and Review-Journal sports writer Gilbert Manzano answer your burning questions about the Raiders and Jon Gruden.
Gruden, Carr critical of new roughing the passer rules
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden wants more clarity on new roughing the passer rules, while Carr reacts to Dolphins William Hayes' injury.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Prepare for the Browns
Host Bryan Salmond discusses the Raiders and Browns seasons so far before Sundays game.
Raiders Adopt Student Resource Room At Robert Taylor Elementary School In Henderson
Former Raiders player Leo Gray and Robert Taylor Elementary School principal Kim Basham talk about the new resource room at the school on Sept. 25, 2018 in Henderson, Nevada. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Nation: Nugent Suffers Injury in Miami
Raiders reporter Michael Gehlken talks about Mike Nugent's injury in Miami and the Raiders poor turnover differential through the team's first three games.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Drop to 0-3 with Loss to the Dolphins
Bryan Salmond and Gilbert Manzano are in studio while Michael Gehlken and Ed Graney report from Miami on the Raiders loss to the Miami Dolphins.
More information on design of Raiders' practice facility in Henderson
Officials plan to finish the Raiders' Henderson headquarters by spring 2020. The planned facility would be home to offices, training facilities and 4 1/2 football fields.
Vegas Nation: Raiders fall short in Week 1 to the Rams
Bryan Salmond and Gilbert Manzano are in studio recapping the first game of 2018 for the Oakland Raiders. Michael Gehlken and Ed Graney report from Oakland.
Raiders BBQ
On Friday, July 20, Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden hosted — and paid for — a free barbecue for Raiders fans. Gruden teamed up with the Raiders and Ricky's Sports Theater and Grill in San Leandro, Calif. as a way to show thanks and gratitude for the support of the Raider Nation. Over 500 Raiders fans showed up to the event that had music, raffles, and appearances from Raiders alumni. This was the final event before the Raiders begin their training camp next week in Napa. Chris Booker Las Vegas Review-Journal
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like