Much attention has been paid to the AFC West this off-season and rightfully so. With everyone making predictions the opinions are all over the place. One thing consistent across media platforms is Derek Carr is the 4th best QB in the division. Mahomes is at worst the 2nd best QB in the league behind Aaron Rodgers. Justin Herbert is the media darling and the betting favorite for the MVP. Russell Wilson has quite the resume and a fresh start could be exactly what he needed. For Derek Carr it’s simple, no need to worry about career achievements or hype just be the best QB this year and let the narrative change itself. Armed with a new contract, reunited with his college teammate and a coach with a strong reputation for elevating QBs. The time is now for Derek Carr to have his best year. He will be a strong MVP candidate by seasons end and here’s why.
The arrival of Fresno State teammate Davante Adams forms one of the best set of targets in the NFL. Darren Waller is also returning from injury and poised for a big year as he chases a much deserved contract extension. Add in Hunter Renfow and Carr should have a favorable match up on almost every play. Solid depth at both TE and WR provides even more targets in the case of an injury or just a specific game plan. To further help out, the preseason has shown the makings of a pretty impressive screen game. With multiple dual threat backs even more will be expected of Carr this season. The Raiders have gone years without legitimate production from a RB in the passing game. This is a welcomed change for the silver and black and just one more way they can attack opposing defenses.
Head Coach Josh McDaniels comes over from New England with a proven track record as one of the best play callers in the NFL. One area the Raiders need to desperately improve in is scoring TDs in the redzone. Too many times drives stalled inside the 20 leading to a horrendous 49 touchdown percentage good for 29th in the NFL. With a rookie QB in New England the Patriots lead by McDaniels had a 63 touchdown percentage good for 7th in the league. This also feels like a an area of strong focus for the offense. Tight End Darren Waller stated they have a plan and focus this year as opposed to previous years where they just ran the same plays. They also have the weapons and the quarterback to achieve higher success.
The Raiders are coming off an appearance in the AFC Wild Card game. The turmoil and adversity the team went through to get to that spot was remarkable. From the tragic Henry Ruggs situation to the Grudens emails the team had every reason to give up. During this time Derek Carr provided leadership and a steadying influence the organization desperately needed. The Raiders needed to win out to clinch a playoff spot and behind Carr they did just that. While his stats weren’t eye popping Carr kept the team together and just won baby. A huge wins against a red hot Colts team on the road set the Raiders up with a win and in scenario vs the division rival Chargers. Leading up to the game the Raiders allegedly had no chance as the Chargers were one of the more media hyped teams in recent memory. All Carr did was make clutch throws and guided his team to the playoffs for the second time in his career. The circumstances were far from perfect and a lot of QBs quit on their team under less adversity. Carr rallied his guys and showed true leadership.
Carr has shown multiple times throughout his career he plays his best with the game on the line. Having led an NFL leading 23 4th quarter comebacks since 2015. Last season Carr helped the Raiders set a record with 6 walk off wins. Earning a playoff birth in the process. The silver and black will have plenty of national television audiences this season thanks to a revamped intriguing division . Every week feels important in the AFC West.
Derek Carr was drafted into a horrible situation. The team has also failed around him while he has had his own growing pains. For the last 4 years Carr has improved his yardage total. His completion percentage has always been good and his career average is 65 percent. The one thing Derek Carr needs is a big td season. With his weapons and history, 5000 yds is well within reach. McDaniels offense should increase his touchdown total especially in the redzone. Add all of this up and the answer is easy, Derek Carr will be an MVP candidate.
Thanks for your time reading my article. For more Raiders talk follow me on Twitter http://@BrianRobert85 and check out my previous article where I review the preseason game vs the Vikings Raiders Preseason Game 2 Review.
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