NFL

Raiders Quarterback Derek Carr Has Reason to Be Confident About the 2020 Season

Derek Carr sounds like a man who knows he has job security with the Las Vegas Raiders. The team signed Marcus Mariota at the start of the free agency period, but the front office didn’t succeed in landing Tom Brady. Nor did the Raiders draft a quarterback this month.

Beating out the quarterback behind six New England Patriots Super Bowl victories would have been one thing, but holding off the guy ushered out the door by the Tennessee Titans is quite another.

Derek Carr has a good grasp of reality

Tom Brady was only one of several strong quarterbacks in the free-agent pool this spring, but he was the big attraction. The Las Vegas Raiders were mentioned prominently early in the chase but didn’t land the New England Patriots star.

Even Derek Carr, who has started 94 games over six seasons, agreed that the Raiders needed to take their shot.

“Obviously, our GM and coach made their decision,” Carr said. “I know we live in a world of hot takes, and we gotta make some controversy, but the guy won six Super Bowls and every team in the league popped in his film when he became a free agent.”

Carr’s critics point to his 39-55 record as a starter, but it’s difficult to assign too much blame to him. The Raiders are riding an improvement from four wins in 2018 to seven last season thanks in no small measure to Carr. He threw 21 touchdown passes vs. eight interceptions and reached a career high (4,054) in yardage.

His 100.8 passer rating was also the best of his career, as were his averages for yards per attempt and completion.

Marcus Mariotta is strictly backup equipment

Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock acted quickly to sign Marcus Mariotta, the second overall selection of the 2015 NFL draft, after his release by the Tennessee Titans.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr told The Athletic that he was kept in the loop throughout.

“I can tell you that Mr. Mayock and Mr. Gruden both called me and said that they did their due diligence on everything. … And they can tell you that in their own words. I am not going to say what they said, because it’s kind of awesome and I don’t want them to have to answer for it. But I felt very comfortable with what they said.”

Carr said he heard from Mariotta immediately after he signed.

“He texted me and said, ‘Derek, I am here to fully support you and help in any way that I can, and grow myself as a player and get healthy,’“ Carr recalled.

Help is on the way

Tight end Darren Waller led the Raiders with 90 receptions last season, averaging a solid 12.7 yards a catch. Wideouts Henry Renfrow and Tyrell Williams combined for 91 catches and 10 TDs, but neither is the type who demands special attention from the secondary.

That’s why quarterback Derek Carr has to be pleased with the Las Vegas Raiders’ haul from the recent NFL draft. The team took Alabama wideout Henry Ruggs III 12th overall and then added receivers Lynn Bowdon of Kentucky and Bryan Edwards of South Carolina in the third round.

Ruggs scored on 24 of his 98 receptions over three seasons with the Crimson Tide, averaging 17.5 yards a catch. He was timed in 4.27 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Bowden caught 67 balls as a sophomore but was moved to quarterback early last season due to injuries. All he did was rush for 1,468 yards and 13 touchdowns. Edwards caught 234 passes over four seasons for the Gamecocks.