As the Raiders pack up their stuff in Oakland and prepare to embrace the bright lights of Las Vegas, they have a number of questions to answer.
How will they address the gaping holes at wide receiver? What about linebacker? And, of course, is Derek Carr the right guy for the job?
With a lack of offensive talent on the outside last season, Carr was serviceable. He led game-winning drives against the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Chargers. The Raiders were 6-4 and flying high. Then the team, Carr included, laid four straight duds to fall out of the playoff picture. Carr remains an average NFL quarterback. He can win games when everything around him is perfect, but he was unable to will the Raiders to wins down the stretch that would have stopped the skid and kept playoff hopes alive.
It was Year 2 for Carr in head coach Jon Gruden's system and questions about their long-term viability together constantly linger. General manager Mike Mayock, though, was pleased with Carr's play during the 7-9 season.
"As far as Derek is concerned, look, it, Jon demands a lot from his quarterbacks," Mayock told Raiders.com. "People don't understand how much, just from a verbiage standpoint all the way to control, pre-snap at the line of scrimmage, you know, his percentage of completions, his ability to command the huddle, his ability to command the pre-snap process at the line of scrimmage, his accuracy. He's got arm talent.
"You look at his development between him and Darren Waller, you know, Darren Waller had 90 catches for over 1,000 yards. Darren Waller is a Pro-Bowl tight end by any definition. And then the chemistry he developed with Hunter Renfrow. I think we've got a good offensive line and what we have to do is a better job of supporting him with some more wide receiver talent, the ability to catch the football, uh, the ability to spread the ball around a little bit. You know, Derek handled everything Jon threw at him mentally. I thought he progressed at a rapid rate in year two in Jon's system."
That certainly sounds like the Raiders will be bringing Carr back.
There will be a number of quarterbacks on the free-agent market for Gruden to bring it to provide competition for Carr should he desire.
The Raiders also have two first-round draft picks and could use one to select a high-end prospect like Oregon's Justin Herbert, Utah State's Jordan Love or Washington's Jacob Eason if one of them appeals to Gruden.
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With more talent on the outside and a defense capable of getting off the field at a more regular clip, perhaps Carr will play at a higher level in Las Vegas.
If not, his time with the Raiders could be over shortly.