One of the more disturbing developments from a disappointing 2017 Raiders season was the regression of Derek Carr. The new coaching staff in Oakland is making the quarterback its first priority – now.
Since taking over as head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Jon Gruden has made one thing crystal clear: his success and the success of the organization is tied directly to quarterback Derek Carr.
Not only that, but as a guest this week on The Sean Salisbury Show, Gruden went so far as to say Carr can only fail if the coach himself fails him. “If Derek Carr fails, that’s on me,” Gruden said emphatically.
Those are strong and purposeful words.
More so than anything is that there’s somebody here in place that’s going to make everything that we do and that everyone in the building understand that we grow as Derek Carr grows. – Raiders Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson
In fact, it is the first time, in a long time, that Raider Nation has heard that level of ownership and accountability from its head coach. There’s no denying the buck stops with Gruden. It also shows why Raiders owner Mark Davis coveted Gruden enough to pay him $100 Million over the next 10 years. The Raiders offense begins, ends, and is built around Derek Carr.
There no longer is any doubt.
It’s the sentiment of Gruden and his newly hired staff. The entire staff is working from the same page and is lock-step with Gruden on the importance of Carr to the team’s future success. In a weekly conference call with the media, newly hired offensive coordinator Greg Olson doubled down on Gruden’s comments yesterday.
“You want to build around that quarterback and I think that that’s the other thing, again, I think with the hiring of a head coach like Jon Gruden, everything we do in this building is going to be about the development of Derek Carr,” Olson said. “The way we script practices, the way we are doing drills, everything that we do is all about the development of the quarterback. That will really speed the development of Derek.”
Carr IS the Franchise
It should come as a relief to Raider Nation that Carr is going to be the focus of the offense going forward. Yes, he took a step back last season. Gruden and Olson promise to bring him stability and continuity. Something Carr, who is now going on his fourth different offensive playbook in five years, could really use. Especially from Gruden, one of the elite offensive minds in the NFL.
This coaching staff is saying the right things thus far and is clearly building a level of trust between the quarterback and the staff that had disappeared under the previous regime. They’re letting him know publicly they will not hang hang him out to dry.
These positives steps by this newly minted staff are important to rebuild Carr’s confidence and to clearly state to his teammates who he is and the importance of his performance for future Raiders success. It’s an important and overwhelmingly positive step. All of Raider Nation should feel good about it.
For Gruden, Carr, and Raiders, Raider Nation will wait to see the results on the field before ruling this new approach a success.
After all, isn’t the team’s motto “Just win, baby?”