The Oakland Raiders finished the season 6-10, a far cry from where the group thought they’d end up in 2017.
With the offseason officially upon us, let’s take a look back at the play of the Silver and Black’s quarterbacks.
*Overview: *It’s no secret that the Raiders offense just couldn’t find an identity in 2017, a surprising development, especially considering how potent the group was just a year previous.
Even with the addition of Jared Cook, Cordarrelle Patterson, and bruising running back Marshawn Lynch, the Raiders scored 115 fewer points than they did in 2016, putting up 788 fewer yards in the process.
That downtick in production is understandably reflected in the Raiders passing stats, including those of Derek Carr.
Was 2017 Carr’s best year as a professional? Certainly not; No. 4 threw 22 touchdowns – his fewest since he was a rookie – and tied a career high with 13 interceptions, as he battled through injury, appearing in 15 games in 2017.
In the two games he was asked to step in for Carr – one as a starter, one in relief – veteran signal-caller EJ Manuel played rather well, completing 24 of 43 passes for 265 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
While the Raiders didn’t win the lone game Manuel started – a Week 5 tilt with the Baltimore Ravens – that blemish on the record doesn’t fall squarely on the shoulders of the former Florida State Seminole.
Second-year quarterback Connor Cook, the third man on the depth chart, didn’t make an appearance in 2017.
While the season collectively didn’t go to plan for the Raiders, Carr did indeed earn Pro Bowl honors for the third time in his career, as he replaced New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
*The Number To Know: *Three.
With three Pro Bowl selections under his belt, Carr is the third quarterback in franchise history to earn Pro Bowl honors three times. The other two? Rich Gannon and Ken Stabler.
*Going Forward: *The return of Jon Gruden to the Raiders is an exciting addition to the organization as a whole, but his influence might not be seen more significantly than with the team’s quarterbacks.
Long considered an elite offensive mind, and quarterback guru, Gruden will set to work coaching up the team’s signal-callers, primarily No. 4.
Even coming off the heels of a statistically disappointing season, Carr is still unquestionably the team’s quarterback of the future, and the presence of the former Fresno State Bulldog is a big reason why Gruden descended out of the broadcast booth, and returned to the sideline.
“I think there is a huge ceiling in Derek Carr,” said Gruden during his introductory press conference. “I think he has proven that. Up to us as a coaching staff to improve around him, get more consistent, and come up with an offense that really allows him to soar into another level. It is exciting and I think if I was a Raiders fan, I would come every week very excited to see No. 4 under center.”
While Carr is under contract long term, the same doesn’t hold true for his primary backup, EJ Manuel, who is set to enter free agency at the start of the league year. However, Connor Cook is still playing out his rookie deal, and remains under contract for 2018 and beyond.
Which quarterbacks eventually end up on the Raiders roster in 2018 will ultimately come down to who Gruden thinks gives the team the best chance to win, but make sure you keep an eye on which players earn invitations to training camp in Napa.
*MVP Of The Position Group: *It can’t be anyone but Derek Carr. While the offense as a whole took a step back in 2017, Carr still earned Pro Bowl honors, and it became clear once again, that the Raiders offense will go as far as he takes it. Did 2017 turn out to be the year that Carr hoped? Likely not, but when D.C. is right, he’s still a premier quarterback in the NFL.