Mike Mayock spends most of his days worrying, but the Las Vegas Raiders' General Manager finds solace in Derek Carr's leadership.
In the year-and-a-half that Mayock has been tasked with rebuilding the Raiders' roster, the team has seen immense improvement on both sides of the ball and has a wealth of young talent on the roster, but that doesn't mean he stops envisioning ways it can be improved.
When Mayock accepted the job as GM, Carr had just finished his first season under Head Coach Jon Gruden and didn't have a lot of weapons to work with. So, Mayock made his first order of business to set out and improve No. 4's supporting cast.
It took a little over a year, but for the first time in recent memory, Carr has an arsenal of receivers, an emerging star at running back, and an elite offensive line all at his disposal. Throughout training camp, Carr's chemistry with his teammates has been solid, but it didn't happen overnight.
Typically, teammates would have months to engage with each other, but the on-going pandemic has prevented that for obvious reasons; however, Carr was determined to find a workaround.
Head out to Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center and view photos from another day of Raiders practice during 2020 Training Camp.
In years past, the former Fresno State Bulldog has hosted a group of wide receivers and tight ends in Bakersfield, but this year he took things a step forward. Prior to camp, Carr invited members of both the offense and defense to participate in player-organized workouts, and Mayock is thrilled with the way Carr's grown as a leader.
"I'm just really pleased with the way Derek Carr has taken over this football team," Mayock told reporters Tuesday. "And it goes back to the offseason, it goes back to all the workouts he had with the players and the players just confirming their buy-in. And that's been awesome. I think Derek is just a natural. I think he gets better every day with Jon [Gruden] in Year 3. That's been awesome."
For a long time, Carr was one of the few consistent guiding voices in the locker room. With so much roster turnover, the Raiders struggled to build any sort of chemistry, but with various pieces place, Carr is leading the charge in 2020; although, it isn't falling solely on his shoulders.
"I just think that our offensive line and the leadership they show is outstanding every day," Mayock added. "I got to be real, I mean the bottom line with most things is that we compete. If you can give a coach or a GM a compliment, that's the highest compliment you can give them, is your kids compete. And that's what I think we're seeing.
"We got to get better. When Jon and I started this thing together that's what we talked about. That was pretty much our number one goal, we got to compete.
Mayock and Gruden haven't signed players in their two years of working together based on talent alone. Dynasties are rare, but they can be built with star-studded talent and veteran leadership, which the Raiders have an even blend of.