3 reasons Raiders QB Derek Carr will get back into MVP conversation in 2019
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr sent the NFL landscape ablaze in 2016. He led the Raiders to a 12-3 record, tallying 3,937 yards and 28 touchdowns to six interceptions on a 63.8 completion percentage. By all measures, he was a bonafide MVP candidate, before he broke his leg late into the season.
After 2016, Carr received a massive contract; with the Raiders seeing a perennial MVP candidate in him. But, he hasn’t exactly rebounded to full-form; as since he’s posted an 86.4 and 93.9 passer rating in the two seasons after his MVP run; not bad numbers, but a dip from his 96.7 2016.
But, he may get back to where he once was in 2019; here are three reasons why.
1. Antonio Brown and the New-Look Raiders Offense
Antonio Brown isn’t going to retire amid helmetgate; so we can count him back in the fold. It should be obvious why Brown is a reason why Carr can ascend back up to MVP status. The seven-time Pro Bowler makes things easier for whoever is passing the ball to him. He’s an unguardable force and a dynamic player that will do wonders for the Raiders’ offense.
But, Brown isn’t the only significant change for Carr’s offense. In addition to Brown, Tyrell Williams — a big-bodied deep threat — is expected to flourish in a secondary role to the mercurial receiver. Rookie running back Josh Jacobs should bring power to their offense, and can drag in defenses; in turn, developing play action.
The offensive line is improved too. While long-time starter Donald Penn is gone, Patriots standout Trent Williams boosts the right side. Four-time Pro Bowl guard Richie Incognito should do the same on the left side. Though guard Gabe Jackson is currently injured, the Raiders have their line figured out; including 2018 first-round tackle Kolton Miller and standout center Rodney Hudson.
2. Healthy offseason
This is simple; Carr’s injuries haven’t helped him as of late.
For the first time since 2015, the 28-year-old Carr doesn’t have to delay his offseason regiment. Previously, Carr had suffered a broken leg in 2016 that took time off of his offseason schedule. In 2017, Carr hurt his back. Though he didn’t have surgery to repair it, he didn’t look himself for the rest of the season.
2018 brought no-such major injuries for Carr. That’s a major boost to his offseason; as instead of rehabbing a broken leg, he’s rehabbing from a down season. Carr and I would take the latter situation ten times out of ten.
Oh, desperation. From dark times often comes ingenuity — as one searches their minds for answers. Ask USA Today’s Doug Farrar; he knows all about it, he wrote an entire book called the “Genius of Desperation,” in which NFL teams are forced to adapt due to the pressure of low times. It turns out, the greatest innovations and performances of the game comes from it.
While the NFL’s adaption to change due to desperation stems from coaching staffs, quarterbacks can be put in there two. Carr is one of them. As his massive extension from 2016 carries little guarantees in 2020 may spark a resurgence.
Carr is essentially in a “prove it” year. The Raiders haven’t fully committed to him; as indicated by their reported pre-draft interest in Kyler Murray, where they also brought him in for a workout.
That may spark a fire under Carr’s will to be great. Several quarterbacks have gotten the message via either signing or drafting young replacements. Some have thrived in these scenarios (hint: Alex Smith’s 2017 campaign), others haven’t. Carr may be on that end of thriving under amounting pressure; if he is, he may be back to his former self.