Dec 26, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) with head coach Jon Gruden against the Miami Dolphins at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Carr confesses gamut of emotions since Jon Gruden resignation

Derek Carr continues to compute the emotional toll of the past week as the Las Vegas Raiders prepare to play the Denver Broncos in a meaningful AFC West game on Sunday.

After a post-mortem of his performance in a loss to the Chicago Bears with Jon Gruden on Monday, Carr learned hours later that the team was without a head coach. Gruden resigned in a meeting with owner Mark Davis as a series of inflammatory emails in which Gruden disparaged individuals with racist and anti-gay rhetoric became public.

Carr said he felt anger, empathy and sick to his stomach over the past week.

“A lot of emotions obviously,” Carr said. “Didn’t see all of this coming. Caught us all by surprise. There will be a day for those feelings. But from an emotional standpoint, I’ve got a job to do.”

No player on the Raiders’ roster spent more time with Gruden.

General manager Mike Mayock said Wednesday Rich Bisaccia was elevated to interim head coach because he’s “the best leader of men” Mayock has been around.

“I feel it’s important to acknowledge the significance of this moment,” Bisaccia said on Wednesday. “Coach Gruden gave me a chance to coach in the National Football League and I’ll always be appreciative of that. That being said, we all have a responsibility here. We have to be accountable to our words and our actions. No one person is bigger than the Raiders shield. The Raiders have always stood for diversity, inclusion and social justice. It’s important to live those ideals and carry them into the future. We can’t change the past, but we can do more to maybe make tomorrow better.”

Carr will be playing for a fifth head coach in his NFL career since entering the NFL in 2014 while still coming to terms with the brutal realities of the messages unearthed from Gruden.

“Are conversations still happening? Absolutely. Another part of being a leader is making sure guys are OK,” Carr said. “This is the biggest story in sports right now and … you turn the TV on and it’s what’s on. I’m sad for our organization, I’m sad for our fans.”

Carr wondered aloud if Gruden was the only NFL coach or general manager with skeletons on his hard drive.

“I love the man — but hate the sin,” a reflective and tense Carr said Wednesday of Gruden. “If we started opening up everyone’s private emails and texts, people would start sweating a little bit. But maybe that’s what they should do for all coaches, GMs and owners from now on. You have to open up everything, see what happens.”

Bisaccia said the Raiders, 3-2, are a good team and there is a lot of season remaining with goals “still alive.” Bisaccia said he still considers Gruden a friend, but they haven’t had dialogue since Monday.

“No one wants to be a head coach in this particular situation. No one wants to be put in front of this in these particular circumstances,” he said. “But it’s an incredible opportunity. … We’re looking forward to the opportunity to play ball again.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) gestures on the field against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Las Vegas won 26-17. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders QB Derek Carr questionable after MRI on ankle

Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr had a precautionary MRI on his ankle Monday and will be listed as questionable in advance of Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins.

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is confident Carr will not miss Sunday’s home game but was not as confident about the status of running back Josh Jacobs, who is expected to miss a second consecutive week because of ankle and toe injuries.

Right tackle Alex Leatherwood is being evaluated for a back injury after playing just 31 snaps in Sunday’s 26-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Carr, 30, helped the Raiders improve to 2-0 by throwing for 382 yards and two touchdowns against the Steelers despite injuring his ankle during the game. He did not end up missing a play.

Carr has thrown for a league-best 817 yards over the first two weeks of the season with four touchdowns and one interception, while being sacked five times. That marks the most passing yards in a two-game span in Raiders history.

Jacobs, 23, rushed for 34 yards on 10 carries and scored two touchdowns in the Raiders’ season-opening 33-27 overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens but did not play at Pittsburgh. Gruden tabbed Jacobs’ status for Sunday as “very questionable.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) against the Miami Dolphins at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders’ Derek Carr: I’d rather quit than get traded

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said Tuesday he would “probably quit football” if he ever got traded.

Carr, 30, a subject of occasional trade rumors in the past, said he remains steadfastly loyal to the team that drafted him in the second round in 2014.

“I’d probably quit football if I had to play for somebody else,” he said following Tuesday’s minicamp practice in Henderson, Nev. “I am a Raider for my entire life. I’m going to root for one team for the rest of my life — it’s the Raiders. So, I just feel that so strong in my heart I don’t need a perfect situation … to make things right.”

The three-time Pro Bowl selection was asked about why he opted to remain silent throughout the offseason while such contemporaries as Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson aired various grievances.

“I’m that old-school mentality — I’m playing for one team and that’s it,” Carr said. “Whether we’ve won enough or not, I literally give every bit of energy and effort that I can to this organization and when I sign a contract, I completely, in my mind, have to fulfill that. I committed to that. I put my name on paper.”

Carr signed a five-year, $125 million extension in June 2017.

Including an 8-8 record in 2020, he is 47-63 as the Raiders’ starter and owns the franchise records for passing yards (26,896), touchdown passes (170), completions (2,468) and attempts (3,830).

–Field Level Media

Dec 17, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) reacts as he heads to the locker room after suffering a groin injury against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Gruden ‘optimistic’ QB Carr will play vs. Miami

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr practiced for the second straight day on Thursday, a good indication that he will play on Saturday against the Miami Dolphins, coach Jon Gruden said.

Carr injured his groin will he was running around right end in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers on Dec. 17. He was replaced by Marcus Mariota.

Carr was limited in practice on Tuesday but was a full participant on Wednesday and Thursday.

“I’m not going to say anything other than I’m optimistic, but I’m not a mind reader,” Gruden said Thursday. “I just know that he had an injury that caused him to miss the game last week and I respect that. He’s a tough guy, man. I’m optimistic he’ll be ready to go, yes.”

Carr has a career-best 102 passer rating this season, throwing for 3,396 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Mariota, a former No. 2 overall draft pick by the Tennessee Titans in 2015, made his debut for the Raiders against the Chargers by throwing for 226 yards and a touchdown, in addition to rushing for 88 yards and another score, in a 30-27 overtime loss.

–Field Level Media

Dec 17, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) reacts as he heads to the locker room after suffering a groin injury against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Raiders QB Carr (groin) sidelined 10-14 days

Las Vegas coach Jon Gruden gave quarterback Derek Carr a 50/50 chance to play in the team’s next game, although a published report isn’t as optimistic.

NFL Network reported that Carr will be sidelined at least 10-to-14 days with a strained groin. Carr sustained the injury in the first quarter of the Raiders’ 30-27 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday.

That time frame would rule out Carr for the Las Vegas’ home game against the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 26.

Should Marcus Mariota lead the Raiders (7-7) to victory, Carr would then be an option to keep the team’s slim postseason hopes alive in a Week 17 game at the Denver Broncos on Jan. 3.

“I met with Derek (on Friday) morning and he is still sore,” Gruden said. “I think there’s a chance but being conservative right now, I’d say it’s 50/50. … Derek’s health will be determined here in a couple days.”

Mariota, 27, completed 17 of 28 passes for 226 yards, one touchdown and an interception while also rushing for a game-high 88 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.

Carr, 29, has thrown for 3,396 yards with 24 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 14 games this season. He has also rushed for a career-high 141 yards and two scores.

–Field Level Media

Dec 6, 2020; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller (83) celebrates with wide receiver Henry Ruggs III (11) after scoring a touchdown against the New York Jets in the first half of a NFL game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders rally for victory over winless Jets

Derek Carr threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to rookie Henry Ruggs III with five seconds remaining to rally the Las Vegas Raiders to a 31-28 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday afternoon in East Rutherford, N.J.

Ruggs, whose fumble earlier in the fourth quarter set up the go-ahead score for New York (0-12), ran past cornerback Lamar Jackson on a stop-and-go route up the left sideline for the game-winner and hand the Jets a franchise record-tying 12th consecutive loss. The Jets also lost 12 in a row from Dec. 3, 1995 to Oct. 20, 1996.

Tight end Darren Waller caught 13 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns, with Carr throwing for 381 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for another score as the Raiders (7-5) snapped a two-game losing streak.

Defensive end Clelin Ferrell, back after missing two games with COVID-19, had a pair of strip-sacks to go along six tackles and Trayvon Mullen added a one-handed interception for Las Vegas.

Sam Darnold was 14-of-23 passing for 186 yards and two touchdowns but lost two fumbles and also threw an interception for the Jets, who lost starting running back Frank Gore on the second offensive play of the game to a concussion. Ty Johnson finished with 104 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries and Jamison Crowder caught five passes for 47 yards and two touchdowns.

Trailing 24-13 in the fourth quarter, the Jets cut it to 24-21 with 10:22 left on Darnold’s 4-yard run off right tackle and a two-point conversion from Darnold to Denzel Mims. New York got the ball back three plays later when Javelin Guidry forced a Ruggs fumble and Marcus Maye recovered at the Las Vegas 44. Six plays later, Johnson scored on a 1-yard run up the middle to give the Jets a 28-24 lead.

New York appeared to seal the win when Carr underthrew Nelson Agholor in the end zone on fourth-and-3 at the Jets’ 9-yard line with 1:42 remaining. But the Raiders got the ball back on their own 39 with 25 seconds left and no timeouts after forcing a three-and-out. Three plays later, Carr hit Ruggs for the game-winner.

–Field Level Media

Sep 21, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller (83) runs the ball against the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter of a NFL game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders’ Waller, Carr fined for COVID-19 violations

Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller was fined $30,000 for a violation of the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols during an indoor charity event last week in Nevada, the NFL Network reported on Monday.

Raiders teammate Derek Carr was among several others fined $15,000 after players were seen in photographs and videos without masks on during the event, which was hosted by The Darren Waller Foundation.

The event, which was held in Henderson, raised roughly $300,000 to help young people dealing with drug and alcohol addiction.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden told reporters he addressed the issue with the players, with Carr saying “we admit we should have kept the masks on, even if we are coming in and they’re introducing us.”

Prior to the start of the season, the NFL and NFLPA agreed to new policies that would require all players to wear masks while out in public.

The Raiders reportedly were fined $50,000 for allowing a non-credentialed employee into the locker room following their 34-24 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 21.

Also Gruden was fined $100,000 — and the franchise was docked an additional $250,000 — for failing to wear a face covering for the majority of that contest.

Saints coach Sean Payton was also fined for failure to wear his mask in that game.

–Field Level Media

What Can We Expect From Derek Carr in 2015?

Much has been said about Oakland Raiders starting quarterback Derek Carr after his 2015 rookie campaign, both good and bad.
There were certainly things that Carr could have done a lot better, but also things that he did very well. In reality, he sat somewhere between Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater given the statistics he produced.
One thing Carr did do well, especially for a rookie quarterback, was taking care of the football, giving up only 12 interceptions in 16 games and 599 passing attempts. Rookie quarterbacks on bad teams (and the Raiders were certainly that in 2014) often go down in flames, but Carr didn’t. He held it together, provided some leadership, and won the respect of his teammates. The lack of even a moderately talented supporting cast will hamper any quarterback, and Carr had little to work with in 2014
How bad was the Raiders offense? They were historically bad, finishing dead last overall, last in rushing, and 27th against the pass. Already without a running game, Carr had to cope without a number one receiver, as well as no on the roster who could qualify as a reasonable number two guy (especially after Rod Streater went down in week three).  Despite a useful contribution from Mychal Rivera, there was also no genuine starting tight end on the roster.
Given that, Carr had poor accuracy on his deep passes (23.9 as per PFF) compared to higher level players (Matt Ryan 56.5% PFF) and struggled to find receivers when under pressure, where his completion percentage dropped to 54.2% (PFF). He was considerably more accurate (63.2% PFF) when he could get the ball out of his hands quickly (under 2.6 seconds), no doubt reflecting the type of college offense he ran at Fresno State.
From the very start of the offseason though, one thing was clear, Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders have gone all in on Derek Carr, and their free agent and draft strategy was geared almost solely to providing him with the tools he needs to develop.
Their biggest free agent signing was center Rodney Hudson to upgrade the offensive line, and they selected wide receiver Amari Cooper with the fourth overall pick of the draft, despite some excellent defensive players being available at need positions. Oakland went offense with three of their first four picks, selecting Miami players Clive Walford (TE), and John Feliciano (OG) in the third and fourth rounds respectively. They also signed Michael Crabtree to further upgrade the receiving corps, and added a blocking tight end in Lee Smith.
The Raiders offense has undergone a major overhaul in terms of personnel, and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave was brought in from Philadelphia, where he had worked in Chip Kelly’s high octane offense. So Oakland has clearly decided Carr is their guy, being happy not only with the talent he displayed on the field, but also with his work habits and character off it.
If the Raiders offense can field a viable running game, that will be a huge help to Derek Carr. Even given his troubles last year and the Raiders awful running game, he was considerably better off the play action than in the other areas of his play.
Carr’s quarterback rating jumped from 78.09 To 93.3, and he threw for eight touchdowns and no interceptions.
The worrying thing statistically, is that his average gain of 5.46 yards was the lowest in the League for starting quarterbacks and also reflects his inaccuracy on deep balls.
Going forward, you would have to expect a significant increase in Carr’s performance, especially in terms of completion percentage (58.1 in 2014), & average gain. All this while continuing to take care of the football as he did as a rookie.
This would reflect both the significant increase in talent surrounding Carr, and also his own development as a quarterback. An increase in deep ball accuracy (he doesn’t lack arm strength) and performance under pressure would be evidence of his development as well.
The talk coming out of camp already is that this Raiders coaching staff is ‘the best since Gruden’, and that better things are expected of the team this year. If Oakland is to achieve those things, it starts with Derek Carr. But If Carr fails to produce and make a noticeable step forward in his play (given the many factors acting in his favor), then his detractors will have a far stronger argument for their criticism.
David Wilson is a graduate of National Football Post’s Introduction to Scouting course and a writer for Raider Nation Times. Follow him on Twitter @linebacker41