The Oakland Raiders remain tied for the best record in the AFC 10 weeks into the NFL season. Coming off of a bye week, Derek Carr and his unit prepare for a Monday Night Football showdown against the Houston Rockets.
Carr has taken the role of the franchise quarterback and the vocal leader of this team, learning from many legends the Raiders have had before him. Just off of a Pro Bowl season, head coach Jack Del Rio has full trust in his quarterback and that the roster can get accustomed to this winning frame of mind.
During a media session on Thursday, Carr was asked what legends have reached out to him and he gave insight on former Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. The legendary coach did many things for the organization, including pushing the Raiders out of continual last place finishes in the AFC West. He led them to a 12-4 record during the 2000 season, which earned the Raiders their first divisional title in over a decade.
The team would go on to lose to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, but Gruden was able to apply a culture shift just as coach Del Rio has done.
Carr relayed the wisdom that Gruden has given to him, which even stems back to Carr attending Gruden’s quarterback camp for young prospects, via Kyle Martin of Raiders.com:
“Coach [Jon] Gruden has been great to me ever since I went to the Gruden camp coming out and spending that day with him which was awesome and we’ve kept in contact ever since. I saw him last year after the season and he’s just such a cool guy to talk to. Coming from him, someone who’s won a Super Bowl, has led teams and is such a great coach, that means a lot to me.”
Although there is internal talk about the Raiders potentially moving to Las Vegas, Gruden voiced his displeasure with the thought and wants the organization to remain in Oakland.
With a 7-2 record this season, the Raiders still remain perfect on the road (5-0), which hasn’t been done since the 1977 season. The team is clicking on all cylinders, although the statistical evidence my say otherwise. Del Rio’s defense continues to get timely stops, such as the key turnovers they have created in close victories.
On the offensive side of things, Carr has demonstrated his ability to relate and communicate with his teammates. Recently, 10-year offensive lineman Donald Penn stated that he respects Carr’s leadership, so that the younger players understand that the quarterback is the one that carries this team.
Carr reiterated his leadership style and said he wants to set an example for his teammates on proper work ethic:
“I’m just myself. I just really am. I thank God that I’m able to come into a room and guys will respond to anything I have to say and I think that has a lot to do with how they see me work, how they see me go about my business and those kinds of things. You can’t say one thing or try and get something out of another guy if you’re not doing it yourself. I’m just thankful that we have a good group of guys that trust in me, but we also have a big room of guys of a lot of leaders.”
During the media session, Carr didn’t forget to mention the offensive line, which had showed up big this season. Often referred to as the best six-man line in the NFL, they have kept Carr upright at an astonishing pace. Carr has only been sacked 11 times this season, which is a league-best rate the offensive line should be proud of.
In recent news, the media relations department nominated Carr as their nominee for the 2016 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.