Derek Carr reflects on bitter end to Raiders' Oakland Coliseum finale

Derek Carr reflects on bitter end to Raiders' Oakland Coliseum finale

OAKLAND – Derek Carr was going over to the Black Hole after Sunday’s Oakland Coliseum finale, rain or shine.

The Raiders quarterback promised himself he would say 'Thank you' to the team’s most rabid, loyal supporters after six seasons playing in this stadium. He has done some great things here, leading the team on several fourth-quarter comebacks both during their 2016 run to the playoffs and other seasons that went far worse.

This fan base long supported Carr, who shares great affinity for Raiders lore and the great quarterbacks who came before him, but it’s starting to turn hostile.

Social media’s a breeding ground for virtually anonymous hate and critique, but dissatisfaction with the Raiders quarterback has manifested in a chorus of boos at recent home games gone awry.

"Oh gosh, what's new with our crowd?” Carr said with a smile. “Trust me, it's not under my skin, it's nothing new."

Carr understands that and went over to the Black Hole anyway, despite a shocking 20-16 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars where the rug was pulled out from under a Raiders team that controlled proceedings for three-plus quarters and then completely fell apart.

He was booed intently. Objects thrown on the field increased during his time there, as fan behavior got messy as reality set in that the Raiders are now done playing football in Oakland.

“I just wanted to say thanks,” Carr said. “Whenever I'm done playing football, they can get mad at somebody else someday that's the quarterback, you know what I mean? There have been too many good times, too many fun memories I've had with especially those certain people, where it's our last time there.

“It's such a cool moment, to say 'Thank you,' to some of those guys, familiar faces. Memories of throwing a ball and breaking Gorilla Rilla’s chain and signing it the next week. So many memories with all those people, so I had told them I was going to say hi to them after the game no matter what."

Carr has played 42 games at Oakland Coliseum. He will not play another one. That didn’t draw emotion out of the quarterback during his postgame press conference, not with how the game turned out and everything that happened after.

"I think right now it's just, I just want to see my family,” Carr said. “Yeah, you miss it, yeah you've got a lot of memories here and things like that, but we had a run here way longer than I've been here. The Oakland Raiders have been here and things like that, so you think about all the players and things that you got to where the same jersey as. That's awesome. It will be something that you have in the memory banks, but it's life, and you just keep going.”

Carr will carry on through the season as a lightning rod chiefly blamed for a four-game losing streak that dropped the Raiders out of playoff contention and sent the season into a sharply downward spiral.

It isn’t all his fault. Raiders receivers have let him down time and again. That includes some major moments in this game, including Tyrell Williams drop on 3rd-and-11 with the Raiders trying to ice a victory.

Carr also had his final Hail Mary pass hit Keelan Doss in the head and fell incomplete, with Marcell Ateman also there with a chance to make the play.

He faced significant pressure on the day and was sacked four times. Carr isn’t playing defense, where the Raiders have been unable to stop anyone for nearly a month now.

This is all about wins and losses, and Carr is judged upon that. Head coaches are, too, but Jon Gruden has eight years left on his contract after this one. He’s going nowhere. It’s far easier for Carr to walk the plank after another disappointing season, and fans seem to want that more and more each week.

That has been a difficult pill to swallow, considering how well Carr has done statistically and his belief that he has grown working within Gruden’s system. He has become calloused to the outside noise, trusting a return to the process of preparing to play games well.

[RELATED: Fans left mournful and bitter]

He’ll find solace in the routine this coming week, allowing him to get over Sunday’s disappointment. Carr wanted to win this game for the team and its fans. He leaves the Coliseum for the last time getting booed off the field. That’s a hard way to leave a stadium where he has orchestrated so many great moments. He was still bothered after the game by what happened in the fourth quarter and beyond.

“I'm still emotional, like angry about it,” Carr said. “There were a few plays out there that we left, but there's nothing I can say right now that's going to make anyone feel better. It's not going to make me feel better. Literally, the only thing you can do is watch the film, correct it, work out tomorrow, and get ready for the next game. It's a sucky thing sometimes, but that's literally the only thing you can do. So you can sulk and be sad and sit there and complain and point fingers and things like that, but you can point all of the fingers at me, that's OK."

Raiders' Derek Carr just trolling with Khalil Mack post, David Carr says

Raiders' Derek Carr just trolling with Khalil Mack post, David Carr says

It's been another offseason of rumors for Derek Carr.

Despite a solid 2019 campaign in Year 2 under Jon Gruden, whispers of the Raiders' interest in other quarterbacks, notably Tom Brady, have been circulating since the season ended. There also have been rumors the Silver and Black could look to trade Carr this offseason. Carr sent shockwaves of his own across social media earlier this week when he posted a photo of himself and former teammate Khalil Mack on Instagram, sparking speculation he could be headed to the Chicago Bears.

But, according to Carr's brother David, he was just having a little fun with the offseason rumor mill.

“His son’s favorite movie is Trolls. He’s just having fun. It’s the offseason,” David Carr said on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access."

While Derek Carr is used to questions about his job security being a topic of conversation, it appears the veteran quarterback is enjoying stoking the trade flames himself for once. 

But he might also be sending a message to the Raiders that other teams would love for him to be their starting quarterback if they don't.

The Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and others have been mentioned as possible landing spots for Derek Carr if he is traded. 

As for the Raiders' offseason plans at quarterback, it feels like the smart money is on Carr entering the season as the starter. While the Brady rumors have taken up all the oxygen, it feels like a stretch to suggest that the six-time Super Bowl champion would leave the New England Patriots at this point in his career. Of course, if Brady wants to wear silver and black, the Raiders have to make that happen.

[RELATED: Why Raiders should target Sanders to revamp receiving corps]

It seems likely Carr will take the first snap for the Raiders in Las Vegas with a free-agent acquisition occupying the backup role and looking to take over should Carr not take the next step head coach Jon Gruden wants to see.

If more rumors continue to pop up, don't be surprised to see Carr take to social media with another cryptic post.

Jon Gruden announces Raiders' minicamp will be in Las Vegas, not Alameda

Jon Gruden announces Raiders' minicamp will be in Las Vegas, not Alameda

The Raiders' move from Oakland to Las Vegas is ramping up.

Head coach Jon Gruden announced Saturday before Tyson Fury's win over Deontay Wilder in a heavyweight fight that the Silver and Black would host their mandatory minicamp at their new home in Sin City.

“If we can let everyone in, we will,” Gruden said on the big screen at the fight, via The Las Vegas Review-Journal.

It is unclear whether or not the Raiders will hold the event in Las Vegas or at the team's facility in Henderson, Nev., although the latter seems more likely.

The Raiders are expected to host their training camp in Napa next summer before shifting football operations to Nevada full time.

[RELATED: Why Raiders should sign Sanders to revamp receiving corps]

Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock face another important offseason as they look to continue the upward trajectory from last season.

The Raiders started Phase 1 of Gruden's rebuild last offseason. They had a historically successful draft class led by running back Josh Jacobs, cornerback Trayvon Mullen and defensive end Maxx Crosby

It will be imperative for Gruden and Mayock to hit on their draft picks again. The Raiders have the No. 12 and No. 19 picks in the first round. With a deep class of young wide receivers, the Silver and Black could greatly improve their offense if they call the right names in April when the draft will be held in April. 

With over $50 million in salary cap room, the Raiders also must navigate free agency successfully. There are a number of players they could pursue, including Tom Brady, but they must hit on their free-agent signings in order to make another leap up the AFC West ladder.