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.
- Derek Carr
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.
Gruden was asked whether putting the pieces around Carr would get him to the next level: pic.twitter.com/yIBPPQ0g7E
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) February 27, 2020
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.
Raiders’ GM Mike Mayock on Derek Carr: "Derek played at a high level last season. I'm very happy with Derek. But as I've said before, we will evaluate every position on our roster and if there's a chance to upgrade, we will look into that."
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 25, 2020
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.
Antonio Brown has yet to find a team to sign him as the NFL continues to investigate his off-field behavior, but that has not stopped the star wide receiver from talking smack to other players on social media.
Brown took aim at two former teammates in some of his latest tweets on Monday. He first fired a shot at Derek Carr, implying that he believes the Raiders are going to dump the quarterback this offseason and that Carr won’t be moving to Las Vegas with the team.
Tell Derek Carr I’ll buy his house in Vegas
— AB (@AB84) December 30, 2019
Carr is coming off another less-than-stellar season with the Raiders, and many believe Jon Gruden will look to make a change at the quarterback position this offseason.
Brown then took a swipe at Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who had beef with Brown all throughout the offseason. Smith-Schuster said during the summer that he was ready to take over the No. 1 receiver role in Pittsburgh with Brown gone, but he had a disappointing year. Brown called him “Boo Boo” and told him to “learn some respect.”
Boo Boo Shoester was ready under 500 U Bum learn some Respect
— AB (@AB84) December 30, 2019
The 500 is likely a reference to Smith-Schuster’s receiving total, as he had just 552 yards in 12 games this season. Some of that was due to Ben Roethlisberger going down with an injury early on and Smith-Schuster battling some injuries of his own, but Brown doesn’t seem to care.
Brown refuses to keep a low profile on social media even amid reports that one NFC team wants to sign him. He also recently blasted Ben Roethlisberger again, and he has made it clear that he is not going to change his ways. Time will tell if that impacts his chances of finding another job in the NFL.
As the Oakland Raiders finish off a disappointing season, it appears there may be changes beyond just the move to Las Vegas for 2020.
In a new column, Michael Lombardi of The Athletic writes that a “significant disconnect” exists between coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr after two seasons together. In Lombardi’s view, Carr does not demonstrate enough of the qualities that Gruden prefers in quarterbacks, namely mistake avoidance and a certain fire and toughness.
Lombardi believes that the 10-20 record Gruden has amassed since rejoining the Raiders will not sit well with the coach. Lombardi also thinks the Raiders will draft a quarterback and use Carr’s relatively affordable contract as a trade chip.
Gruden has vocally backed Carr as the Raiders’ long-term quarterback, but that was a year ago now. Carr’s numbers in 2019 haven’t been a huge improvement on 2018, and Oakland still isn’t winning. That may be enough for Gruden to stake his tenure on a new quarterback if he doesn’t think Carr can ultimately get the job done.