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Derek Carr will have the best season of his NFL career



I know Carr does not have a winning record against any AFC West opponent. No, not even the Chargers, with last season’s sweep of LA pulling Carr to just 6-6 against the Bolts. And I know the Raiders have only had one winning season in Carr’s NFL career. If you put Carr’s 12-3 mark as a starter in his famous MVP caliber 2016 campaign, the team’s combined record under Carr is 27-52.

It’s not good. I can feel the frustration. But we do not put all this on Derek, do we? Playing for Dennis Allen (as Carr did during his rookie year) and Jack Del Rio (as Carr did from 201

5 through ’17) is not like playing for Andy Reid or even Gary Kubiak, two coaches who won the Super Bowls in AFC West during Carr’s time in the league.

The Raiders have allowed 26.0 points per game since Carr was selected 36th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft – the second-highest in the NFL. And Carr has entered the fourth quarter while releasing his opponent in nearly 60 percent of his starts. The Raiders have done it as a team 56 times in this span, fourth most in the league, behind only the Browns, Jets and Jaguars. You know, elite companies.

Of course, any responsibility to keep up with the other team must go to the quarterback. But Carr has basically had to do it on his own in recent years. Amari Cooper, who was drafted fourth overall in 2015 to be a superstar recipient, did not actually live up to his potential until he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys 2018. (It was like when you break up with someone who was unreliable to you, and then you see those on Instagram live their best lives. Cooper was like the one who broke Adele’s heart. there is not enough spandex in the world to dress them – on top of the WR depth chart that season. Do I even need to talk about Antonio Brown, whose division was one of the worst things I saw last season? (And I saw The Undertaker fight Goldberg in Super ShowDown.)

Despite the lack of a proven No. 1 receiver, Carr has tied Matthew Stafford for most comebacks in the fourth quarter of the NFL since 2014 (18). Yes, it’s more than Russell Wilson (15), Drew Brees (14) and Matt Ryan (14). (As I write that sentence, I realize how strange it is that Ryan is the only one from the group that has won an MVP.)

This season, Carr is not will have to do everything because he will play the best supporting role in his NFL service. Driving back Josh Jacobs – who should have been the Offensive Beginner of the Year 2019, if you think about the impartial views of Gruden, Raiders fans and fantasy enthusiasts who drafted him – is poised for a major breakout in year 2. The offensive line, as a once was at a disadvantage, has become one of the league’s best, earning Pro Football Focus’ top ranking in pass blocking on long pass games (and ranking as 11th in total line play) on its way to 2020. Tight end Darren Waller emerged as a legitimate goal passed. And novice receiver Henry Ruggs III is a throwback to the time of Al Davis, who valued speed above all else on the football field. (But in a good way.) As for the defense, there is reason to be optimistic after an off-season that included signing solid veterinarians Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski and drafting cornerback Damon Arnette.

In addition to all this, it is a question of the said disrespect – and the extra motivation it will provide. Carr recently mentioned that he will wear a bracelet to honor the late NBA star Kobe Bryant, one of Carr’s heroes. Kobe, of course, had a Mamba mentality that allowed him to feed off experienced gliders and use them to propel him to personal greatness.

Well, Carr has gained enough respect this year to have a party. And I can not wait to see it.

Follow Adam Rank on Twitter.




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