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#pounditTuesday, October 26, 2021

Articles tagged: Derek Carr

5 biggest surprises of the 2021 NFL season thus far

Jon Gruden

The 2021 NFL regular season is now in Week 7 — boy, does it go by fast — and to say there have been a few surprises that stand out would be an understatement.

Things got off to a fast start league-wide and have not slowed down one bit. Whether it’s on the field or off of the field, the NFL is jam-packed with excitement, drama, and theater.

Here is a look at the five biggest surprises of the 2021 season (so far).

5. Kansas City Chiefs being average

Everything that goes up must eventually come down. The Chiefs are currently living that reality. They’ve split their first six games this season. At 3-3, they find themselves in third place in the AFC West (more on that division to come). But beyond just the .500 record, several of their superstar players are underperforming. Case in point: quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The former league MVP already has nine turnovers on the season, three shy of his career high. He has four interceptions over the past two games combined (don’t tell his mom). The Chiefs’ -8 turnover ratio is the second-worst in football. Defensively, KC is also allowing over 410 yards per game and an average of 29.3 points per game. Each of those marks are among the bottom five in the NFL.

4. Derek Carr an early MVP candidate

The Raiders decided to let Derek Carr air it out this season, and his aggression has gone through the roof. Yes, Carr has made some risky throws, and his accuracy is nothing to write home about, but he’s second in the NFL with 1,946 yards and 324.3 yards per game. Carr is also in the top half of the league in touchdown passes (10) and has tossed just four interceptions despite the new chuck-and-duck style. Perhaps more importantly, the Raiders are 4-2 under Carr, are tied for the AFC West lead, and three of their victories have come over teams who won 10-plus games in 2020. Whether or not Carr can keep up this pace remains to be seen, but few saw this start coming.

3. Myles Garrett gunning for all-time records

Through seven weeks, Cleveland Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett has amassed a league-leading eight sacks and is on pace for 23.0, which would be an all-time single-season record. And given how dominant Garrett has been this season, it’s entirely possible that Michael Strahan’s long-standing record finally falls. What makes Garrett’s early-season performance so impressive is that he’s dominating as much against the run as he is the pass. And when he does get home, he finishes. His eight sacks come alongside 17 QB hits and seven hurries, and are coupled with an equally impressive 24 tackles (nine for a loss).

2. Giants defense in shambles

Entering the 2021 regular-season, most believed the Giants would be kept afloat by their defense, which surprised under Patrick Graham a year ago. That has not at all been the case. In fact, the offense has outplayed the defense thus far. Graham’s unit, which plays Cover 2 more than any other team in the league, has taken several steps back. They have been unable to generate any natural pressure. Even when attempting to scheme in pressure, they haven’t hit home. The lack of pressure has allowed opposing quarterbacks to light up their secondary, including cornerback James Bradberry, who was a Pro Bowler in 2020. Not only will this regression take a toll on the organization, it might also cost Graham potential head coaching interest in 2022.

1. Urban Meyer and Jon Gruden

The situations surrounding Urban Meyer and Jon Gruden are very different but equally shocking. Meyer, of course, drew heavy criticism for staying behind in Ohio after his team lost to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4, only to later be caught on video acting inappropriately with a woman who wasn’t his wife (more here). He survived being fired (or divorced) but it’s certainly an early stain on his NFL career. Gruden, on the other hand, did not survive comments he made in private emails years ago. During an investigation into the Washington Football Team, several Gruden emails containing some ugly comments were discovered. He was immediately canceled, resigned as Raiders head coach, and was removed from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ring of Honor, where he had previously sat alongside Warren Sapp and others.

Derek Carr offers thoughts on Jon Gruden resignation

Derek Carr with a helmet on

Derek Carr shared his thoughts Wednesday on Jon Gruden’s resignation after offensive emails the head coach sent became public.

The Las Vegas Raiders had a day off Tuesday, the day after Gruden resigned following a meeting with team owner Mark Davis. They returned on Wednesday to practice at their facility, which is the first time many members of the team spoke with the media.

Carr, who has been the Raiders’ quarterback since 2014, summed up his thoughts with one quote: “I love the man, I hate the sin.”

Carr added more.

“I don’t condone, I don’t talk that way. My kid’s won’t talk that way…it’s hard, because I love the man so much,” Carr said of Gruden.

He also acknowledged that opening up peoples’ private emails and text messages would make many people uncomfortable.

“No one’s perfect, if we just started opening up everyone’s private emails and texts people would start sweating … Hopefully not too many, but maybe that’s what they should do for all coaches and GMs and owners from now and see what happens,” Carr said.

Carr said he wasn’t going to drift too far into his emotions because he needs to focus on getting his job done as the team’s quarterback.

Carr was a Pro Bowler from 2015-2017 and has been working with Gruden the last four seasons. There were rumors early on that Gruden might want to part ways with Carr, but the team’s feelings on the quarterback seemed to have changed this year.

Photo: Sep 13, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) before playing against the Baltimore Ravens at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Carr responds to Joey Bosa’s ‘shook’ comment

Derek Carr

If nothing else, Monday’s game between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Los Angeles Chargers seems to have intensified a rivalry.

That continued Wednesday, with Raiders quarterback Derek Carr responding to critical comments made by Chargers defensive lineman Joey Bosa. Bosa had said following Monday’s game that Carr gets “shook” when put under heavy pressure, and that the team knew doing so would ensure that Carr “kind of shuts down.”

Carr got his chance to respond on Wednesday. He made clear that he loves Bosa, but did admit the comments ticked him off.

Carr is no stranger to criticism. That said, it’s obvious why this one struck a nerve. No quarterback likes to be seen as panicked or lost in the pocket. Just think of how much attention Sam Darnold got for this comment he made last year.

Carr was sacked four times in Monday’s loss. He’ll get his shot at revenge against Bosa and the Chargers when the Raiders host them in the regular season finale in Week 18.

Photo: Jeffrey Beall/Wikimedia via CC BY-SA 4.0

Derek Carr shares his ambitious career goal

Derek Carr

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is thinking about his future, and he’s pretty confident that he hasn’t even played half of his NFL career.

Carr said Wednesday that his hope is to play another 15 years in the NFL — an ambitious goal for the 30-year-old quarterback.

“I feel like I can play another 15 years, without a doubt,” Carr said, via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN. “Nothing’s hurting. It’s the middle of camp, and I feel great. I feel strong, I feel fast, I feel explosive. And I think it’s just the way we train now.

“I feel like I’m 20. I honestly believe this — that our generation, the way we can take care of our bodies with football, I think 30 is the new 20. … That comes from science, and that comes with more understanding.”

15 more years would mean Carr is playing until he’s 45. That’s pretty much unheard of unless you’re Tom Brady. That’s somewhat ironic when you consider recent stories about what Brady may think of Carr.

If Carr can accomplish this feat, more power to him. That said, it probably isn’t even fully up to him. Injuries can happen to anyone. Even if he stays healthy, the question can become whether anyone will still think he’s worth signing once he’s into his 40s. If Carr wants to meet his goal, he’ll have to play at a high enough level for long enough to justify being on a roster.

Photo: Jeffrey Beall/Wikimedia via CC BY-SA 4.0

Derek Carr denies being the quarterback Tom Brady threw shade at

Derek Carr

Derek Carr denies that he was the quarterback Tom Brady threw some shade at during free agency.

Brady went viral recently for saying on a talk show appearance that he couldn’t believe a team chose to stick with its quarterback over him last year when he was a free agent. There has been speculation regarding who was the quarterback Brady was talking about.

Carr was the quarterback most recently rumored to be the player in question. However, the Las Vegas Raiders QB says he was told it’s not him.

“From what I know it wasn’t me, which is good,” Carr told “Brother from Another” on Wednesday. “I know you got the rings, but if it’s not me then we’re good. What I heard, it wasn’t me. And so I’m good with that.”

We don’t know whether or not that was the case, but there are only a limited amount of people it could have been. So Carr is in the mix, along with some other players.

Maybe the saying “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” could be applied here.

Carr is set to make $19.6 million this season and just under $20 million in 2022, which would be the final season of his five-year, $125 million contract.

Photo: Jeffrey Beall/Wikimedia via CC BY-SA 4.0

Was Derek Carr the QB Tom Brady took a shot at?

Tom Brady Bucs

Tom Brady sent NFL fans into a frenzy last week when he took a ruthless shot at an unnamed team and quarterback. We may never know which quarterback he was talking about, but there have been several theories. One of the latest makes a lot of sense.

Brady said during an appearance on HBO’s “The Shop” that he thought to himself, “You’re sticking with that motherf—er?” when one team opted to remain with their current quarterback over him last summer. Of course, Brady did not mention anyone by name. There was some speculation that he was referring to Ryan Tannehill and the Tennessee Titans. Others thought the comment could have been about Mitchell Trubisky, but Brady never had interest in playing for Chicago.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has received a number of tips about Brady’s zinger. He said Saturday that Brady was not talking about the Bears. Then on Sunday, Florio said “multiple people with deep connections to the NFL’s matrix” have told him the unnamed team was the Las Vegas Raiders. That would mean Brady does not think very highly of Derek Carr.

That actually makes some sense. Brady wanted to play for a team in a warm climate. The two finalists for him were the Los Angeles Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Chargers did not have a starting QB in place at the time, so they can’t be the mystery team. The San Francisco 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo could check some boxes, but Brady said on “The Shop” that the team he was talking about was not one he wanted to play for. He grew up rooting for the Niners and they were said to be his top choice, so that doesn’t add up, either.

Perhaps it was Carr. Florio’s sources said the Raiders dropped out of the Brady sweepstakes late and thought some of his requests for “extra things” were excessive. Carr has also been mediocre at best throughout his NFL career.

Brady provided some other great soundbites during his HBO appearance, but only one has resulted in a full-blown fan and media investigation.

The Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski Tampa party continues! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Tampa Fiesta shirt. You can buy it here.

Raiders open to drafting top QB in first round?

Jon Gruden

The Las Vegas Raiders have said publicly this offseason that they are very content with Derek Carr as their quarterback, but that does not mean they are ignoring the position entirely heading into next week’s NFL Draft.

The Raiders have done “extensive work” on the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft and have not ruled out taking one, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports. They currently have the No. 17 pick, but Rapoport says they are prepared to potentially take action if one of the top QBs slips past No. 10.

There are five quarterbacks that are considered a part of the top group in this year’s draft class. Trevor Lawrence is going to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Zach Wilson seems like a lock for the New York Jets at No. 2. The San Francisco 49ers will also take a QB third overall, but Mac Jones, Justin Fields and Trey Lance are all in play there.

After that, the draft becomes a bit more of a mystery. The Atlanta Falcons could take a quarterback at No. 4, but they still have Matt Ryan locked in for at least two more years. The Detroit Lions (7th), Denver Broncos (9th) and New England Patriots (15th) all pick before Las Vegas and could be hoping to take one of the top QBs.

Given what Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said about Carr last month, we doubt the Raiders would trade up for a quarterback. It is also unlikely that one of Fields, Jones or Lance would fall to them at No. 17, but it makes sense that they want to be prepared just in case.

Mike Mayock makes clear how Raiders feel about Derek Carr

Derek Carr

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr got a significant vote of confidence from his general manager on Wednesday.

Raiders GM Mike Mayock called Carr a “top” quarterback, and one who both he and coach Jon Gruden would “pound the table” for.

“I think Derek Carr has earned a lot of respect around this league from an awful lot of people,” Mayock said, via Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com. “I think Derek Carr had his best year yet, under Jon Gruden. I think he’s one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and we couldn’t be happier with him. …

“If you’re asking me about Derek, I think Jon and I would both stand shoulder to shoulder and pound the table for Derek Carr.”

It probably wasn’t needed, but this serves as public confirmation to what reports have said. Some fairly prominent teams looked into trading for Carr, and were promptly told there would be no negotiation.

Carr is still only 29 and is on a contract the team likes, and he threw for a career-high 4,103 yards in 2020. He’s not going anywhere despite the rumors.

Photo: Jeffrey Beall/Wikimedia via CC BY-SA 4.0

Raiders reportedly not interested in Derek Carr extension

Derek Carr

The Las Vegas Raiders appear willing to play it by ear with quarterback Derek Carr.

According to Vic Tafur of The Athletic, the Raiders aren’t looking to give Carr an extension right now. The team also isn’t eager to trade the quarterback, citing his ongoing improvement and his current team-friendly deal.

There has been a lot of speculation about Carr in the last few weeks, with the quarterback popping up in trade rumors. It’s become clear that the team does not want to trade Carr, which opened up speculation that the Raiders might actually look to extend him instead.

Carr has two years remaining on his current deal, and his roughly $22 million cap hit in 2021 is very reasonable for an NFL starting quarterback. It’s no great shock that the Raiders are prepared to see what happens with him instead of rushing into something regrettable.

Photo: Jeffrey Beall/Wikimedia via CC BY-SA 4.0

Derek Carr, Raiders could reportedly agree to contract extension

Derek Carr

The Las Vegas Raiders have fielded some recent calls from teams interested in potentially trading for Derek Carr, but there has been no real indication that Jon Gruden wants to trade his starting quarterback. Could a contract extension be on the horizon instead?

NFL insider Adam Caplan told the “Ferrall: Coast to Coast” show over the weekend that the believe around the league is that Carr could end up getting a contract extension this offseason.

“They do not want to trade him. I can tell you that’s a fact,” Caplan said. “Last year at this time, he was 100 percent available. It’s funny how things change.”

You can hear Caplan’s full thoughts on the Carr situation below:

The Indianapolis Colts reportedly inquired about Carr before they traded for Carson Wentz, and talks went nowhere. Las Vegas has turned down multiple offers thus far and would almost certainly need to be overwhelmed to consider trading Carr.

Even though Carr and Gruden did not get off to a great start together, things have improved. Carr completed 67.3 percent of his passes for 4,103 yards, 27 touchdowns and nine interceptions this past season. Gruden must be encouraged by the progression he has seen from Carr.

Photo: Jeffrey Beall/Wikimedia via CC BY-SA 4.0