The Raiders and Chiefs historically have one of the most bitter rivalries in the NFL, but it sounds like one player thinks the contest needs to be a bit more even for that mantle to be claimed.
Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr thinks his team needs to be more competitive for the matchup to really be considered a true rivalry.
“To be honest, to call it a rivalry we have to win some games against them,” Carr said, via Vic Tafur of The Athletic.
It’s brutal, but it’s not wrong. Mutual dislike is the base of every rivalry, but the best ones are always competitive and typically contested by two quality teams. The Raiders haven’t been that for a while. Since the start of the 2013 season, the Raiders have only beaten the Chiefs twice in 14 matchups.
The unbeaten Chiefs are again clear favorites over the 2-2 Raiders. Las Vegas has had other issues to deal with recently as well.
The Raiders had to play in front of an empty stadium for their first home game in Las Vegas on Monday night, but you would have sworn 65,000 people were cheering them on. Derek Carr led the team to a convincing win and left his mark on Allegiant Stadium — literally.
Following the Raiders’ 34-24 win over the New Orleans Saints, Carr left a special message on one of the walls inside Allegiant Stadium.
Carr completed 28-of-38 passes for 282 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. The Raiders fell behind 10-0 in the first quarter but battled back to tie things up heading into halftime. They then controlled the second half, and Jon Gruden made a tough decision that paid off in a big way to seal the game.
There was talk for much of last season that Gruden and Carr were on different pages. Despite all that, Gruden stuck with Carr. The coach’s decision has been rewarded thus far, as Carr has completed 73.5 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and no interceptions through two games.
Derek Carr had a funny comment about Jon Gruden’s bold decision to attempt a long field goal late in the Las Vegas Raiders’ 34-24 win over the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.
The Raiders were up 31-24 and drove to the New Orleans 36 with 1:05 left. They had a tough choice on fourth down and decided to take a risk. Gruden sent kicker Daniel Carlson out to attempt a 54-yard field goal. If he made the kick, it would have put the Raiders up by two scores and effectively iced the game. If he missed, the Saints would have had the ball near midfield and with a minute left to tie the game.
“That took a lot of you-know-what from Coach Gruden,” Carr said of Gruden’s decision during a postgame interview with ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the game.
It certainly did.
Carlson nailed the 54-yard kick with ease, essentially sealing the win.
Although Carlson made the kick look easy, the decision could not have been an easy one. Prior to this season, Carlson’s NFL career-long field goal was 50 yards. He’s made two 54-yarders this season.
The decision took a lot of you-know-what from Gruden, but it paid off for the 2-0 Raiders. Now that they’re off to a good start, we’re guessing the rumors about problems between Carr and Gruden are gone.
The Las Vegas Raiders signed Marcus Mariota this offseason despite already having Derek Carr, but Mark Davis’ stance on Carr still has not changed.
Speaking with reporters this week, the Raiders owner offered his continued vote of confidence to Carr, the team’s longtime starting quarterback.
“You can’t discount the continuity between Derek and [head coach] Jon [Gruden],” he said, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. “The longer they’re together, the more osmosis there is. There’s a legitimacy to all of it. Jon has a trust in him, and [Carr] works hard and he’s very, very smart. I think it’s all positive, but you still have to play the damn game.”
Carr, the three-time Pro Bowler, has been the starter for the Raiders since 2014. He topped 4,000 passing yards last season with an excellent 70.4 completion percentage, but the team still went 7-9, giving Carr a losing record in five of his six seasons as their QB1.
The signing of Mariota only added to the questions about Carr’s hold on the starting job as well as his relationship with Gruden. But Davis is not the only one stressing that all is well with Carr before their first season in Las Vegas.
Derek Carr is a huge Kobe Bryant fan and planning to honor his idol this season.
The Las Vegas Raiders quarterback told reporters on Tuesday that he is planning to wear an arm sleeve this season to honor Kobe, who wore one when he played.
“What would be a cool way to honor Kobe Bryant? He always wore an arm sleeve on his arm. I was like, ‘Well, I can’t wear one on my right arm, so I’ll wear one on my left arm,'” Carr said.
Carr says he even developed a personal relationship with Bryant that influenced him.
“He just meant so much to me. Then, when I got to know him. Then, he followed me on Twitter, that blew my mind. That was the day of my life. Just getting to know him, talk to him, have conversations with him, just what he meant to me as an athlete. The Mamba Mentality is trying to be the best version of yourself every day. I have the big old poster in my office, my weight room now with that Mamba Mentality mantra on it. It’s just a way to honor him, so I’ll wear it all year. The only reason is to honor him and just what he meant to me as a kid growing up.”
Carr grew up in Fresno, Calif., a few hours north of Los Angeles. That was close enough for him to become a huge fan of Bryant, which has carried throughout the years, including during Carr’s professional career.
The 29-year-old quarterback is entering his seventh NFL season. He passed for 21 touchdowns and 8 interceptions last year, but is facing competition at quarterback from Marcus Mariota.
Jon Gruden and Derek Carr have seemed like something of an odd couple to this point of their relationship, but one player who witnessed the dynamic firsthand thinks that they work together just fine.
In an appearance this week on “The Pat McAfee Show,” former Raiders wide receiver Jordy Nelson was asked about the mainstream media narrative that Gruden and Carr don’t get along.
“I mean, you see Gruden on the sideline where I assume if it was mic’d up, there would be a lot of beeping going on and you really wouldn’t understand what he was saying,” said Nelson. “And Derek is a more of a calmer, obviously Christian dude that is not gonna cuss anyone out or do anything like that. So I think their two demeanors and personalities might clash. But they honestly get along great. I mean, it’s a good balance.
“There’s a couple times when I was there they got a little fiery at each other,” Nelson added. “But that happens with everyone … The one thing I think that works great with those two, Derek is extremely smart and puts in so much time and work that he can handle everything that Gruden’s throwing at him.
Nelson spent the final year of his career in 2018 with the Raiders, catching passes from Carr. That season also marked Gruden’s first with the team.
Rumors abounded last season that there was a major disconnect between Gruden and Carr, and they may have only grown louder when the Raiders brought in Marcus Mariota this offseason. But that perception is probably more rooted in the difference in their personalities, as Nelson says, rather than an actual rift.
If you believe the rumors, the Las Vegas Raiders looked into signing Tom Brady this offseason. That would have pushed Derek Carr off the team.
Carr, though, never felt threatened by the rumor mill, and credited coach Jon Gruden and GM Mike Mayock for being transparent with him.
“No,” Carr told Vic Tafur of The Athletic when asked if he had ever doubted he’d return as the team’s quarterback. “And I say no without getting into too much detail. I knew some of the things that were going to be said and I knew some of the things that were going to be thrown out by the media. I knew a lot of those things. And then I’d wake up in the morning and those things would happen. And, I would just laugh. Obviously, people would be like, ‘Oh my gosh, did you see this?’ And then they’re asking my teammates questions, and it’s like … I just don’t care enough anymore to call my teammates and tell them, ‘Don’t worry about it, we’re good.’ I just didn’t care enough.
“But from what they told me — 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.”
While the Raiders publicly stood by Carr, rumor had it that they pursued Brady right up until the end. Regardless, it’s still Carr’s job, and he’ll be expected to make progress with a new-look Raider offense in 2020.
Rumors have been swirling for about two years now that Derek Carr may not be with the Raiders much longer, but head coach Jon Gruden continues to insist he has no plans to part ways with the quarterback.
When asked about Carr at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday, Gruden said he can’t address every rumor about his quarterback but is looking forward to building around Carr going forward.
“I really think Derek is a heck of a player and I got a lot of respect for what he has done with some tough circumstances,” Gruden said, via ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez. “So, I’m not going to answer every media rumor out there. I just can’t do it. I’m just going to listen to my Sirius Rock n’ Roll classic vinyl and keep working. But I love what Derek Carr brings to our team and anxious to continue to build around him.”
Many interpreted that as Gruden’s way of saying Carr will remain with the team in 2020, but the coach also said the Raiders need to improve at the quarterback position. However, he didn’t necessarily mean improving by bringing in someone to replace Carr.
Earlier in the week, Raiders general manager Mike Mayock left the door open for the Raiders to move on from Carr. If the Raiders have a chance to sign Tom Brady, it’s impossible to imagine Mayock and Gruden opting to keep Carr rather than making a run with the greatest QB of all time.
While Gruden has vocally backed Carr as the Raiders’ long-term quarterback, there were some reports late last season that indicated the quarterback’s days with the team may be numbered.
The Raiders are moving to Las Vegas this offseason, and general manager Mike Mayock has seemingly confirmed that there is a chance they may not take Derek Carr with them.
Mayock was asked about Carr at the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, and he said he has been “very happy” with the veteran quarterback. However, Mayock left the door open for the Raiders to move on from Carr when he said they will examined the possibility of upgrading every position on the roster — including QB.
That may seem like an obvious statement for a GM to make, but do you think the Green Bay Packers would say the same about their quarterback situation? How about the Kansas City Chiefs? The Seattle Seahawks? You get the picture.
If the Raiders truly believed Carr was their franchise QB going forward, there’s no way their GM would be talking about possibility upgrading at that position. Carr has been mediocre at best in his two seasons under Jon Gruden, throwing for just over 4,000 yards each year and tossing 40 touchdowns compared to 18 interceptions. There has been a belief since Gruden returned to the Raiders that the coach may want to find his own QB at some point rather than the one he inherited, and no one would be stunned if that happened this offseason.
While Gruden has vocally backed Carr as the Raiders’ long-term quarterback, there were some reports late last season that indicated Carr’s days with the team may be numbered. Mayock’s comments on Tuesday weren’t exactly a denial of that.
We are entering the season of NFL trade rumors, and some players appear to be eager to fuel their own speculation as the offseason gets underway.
One of those people may be Derek Carr. The Las Vegas Raiders quarterback posted an image of himself with former teammate Khalil Mack on Instagram, spurring a host of trade rumors and potential links to the Chicago Bears.
So is there anything to this? Not according to Carr’s brother David, an analyst for NFL Network, who exposed Derek’s trolling.
“His son’s favorite movie is Trolls. He’s just having fun. It’s the offseason,” David Carr said, via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.
In other words, nothing to report. Derek Carr’s $18.9 million salary is too big for the Bears to absorb without clearing some cap space first anyway. It does not, however, mean there’s no chance the quarterback is dealt by the Raiders this offseason — it’s certainly within the realm of possibility.