So much for the sophomore slump.
After a rookie year that saw him secure nearly every rookie quarterback record in franchise history, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has managed to improve his numbers across the board in his second year under center for the Silver and Black.
And people around the league are starting to take notice.
Gregg Rosenthal of Around the NFL recently ranked all 32 starting quarterbacks in the league and the Raiders signal caller came in at the No. 7 slot, ahead of veteran players like Drew Brees and Peyton Manning.
"[Teddy] Bridgewater heads to Oakland on Sunday with a 6-2 record, but Derek Carr has created separation among his young quarterback brethren," writes Rosenthal. "The situation around Carr is excellent from the underrated offensive line to the true No. 1 receiver (Amari Cooper) to an offensive system that gets receivers open. But Carr, like any franchise quarterback, makes the entire enterprise go. Everything changes when an organization finds The Guy."
And through eight games, Carr has certainly demonstrated he has the intangibles to be "The Guy" for the Silver and Black, and he definitely has the stats to back it up.
He is currently tied for third in the league with 19 touchdowns, compared to just 4 interceptions, and his 2,094 yards through the air also ranks in the top half of the league.
However, the impressive statistics don't really mean much to the mild-mannered Carr.
"Those numbers, man. Those numbers make people talk about you," Carr said. "For me, you all know me, I'm going to be the same guy forever and if I'm not, you guys have free will to just punch me in the face."
All jokes aside, the Fresno State-product has been on a tear the last month or so of the season, producing back-to-back games of at least 300 yards, and throwing for 12 touchdowns in the last four weeks.
"I think the guys at this level, I think they've been the focus of attention their whole lives athletically," offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said. "So I think they know how to take the good with the bad and stay focused and on an even keel."
Sitting at 4-4, the Raiders welcome the Minnesota Vikings and fellow 2014 draft product Teddy Bridgewater (who was ranked No. 19 on Rosenthal's index) in a Week 10 clash Sunday at O.co Coliseum.
A win would go a long way in legitimizing the Silver and Black's quest for the postseason, and make no mistake, this team will go as far as Carr carries them.
The Top 10 of Rosenthal's index goes as follows:
- Tom Brady
- Carson Palmer
- Cam Newton
- Andy Dalton
- Aaron Rodgers
- Ben Roethlisberger
- Derek Carr
- Philip Rivers
- Drew Brees
- Russell Wilson