The 2016 season was a career-changing one for not only quarterback Derek Carr, but the Oakland Raiders as well. Highly viewed as a franchise quarterback, Carr’s third season turned into his rise amongst the other top-tier quarterbacks in the NFL.
The Week 16 injury to Carr certainly shook the realm of football, as it cut his season short and ultimately led to the downfall of the Raiders’ 2016 season. Carr not only was the vocal leader of this team, but carried his team each game and helped deliver seven game-winning drives.
If not for his freak injury, Carr would be atop the NFL MVP rankings. Even with a shortened season, fellow quarterback Cam Newton stated that Carr should be in the MVP conversation.
The Fresno State alumnus underwent surgery immediately following the injury, attempting to keep hope alive should the Raiders be able to make the Super Bowl. However, now that their season is over, Carr is taking his time and listening to his doctors in the recovery process, via Kyle Martin of Raiders.com:
“Feeling really good, obviously now that we’re not playing, taking it slow to make sure it heals properly and all those things… I’m doing very good, just listening to doctors and trainers orders, which is hard for me because I want to do more things, but obviously since we’re not playing now they’re all about slowing the process down and taking it slow. I’ll be ready here very, very shortly.”
Fox Sports analyst Colin Cowherd also came to the defense of Carr, stating that his name should definitely be in the MVP race, upon not being ranked in the top six. Cowherd pointed out the impact Carr has had, as his emergence carried the franchise from 7-9 to 12-4.
Carr finished the 2016 with 3937 passing yards, 28 touchdowns, a career low six interceptions, seven come from behind victories and a career high 96.8 passer rating. This proved to be Carr’s coming out party, although his season was cut short by a game and a half.
During the interview with J.T. The Brick, Carr was asked about his progression towards 2017. Rather than stating he is anxious to come back and lead the Raiders again, he stated that his main focus was sitting down and figuring out areas he can improve on:
“I feel like everything; me and [quarterbacks] Coach [Todd] Downing sat down yesterday after the team meeting and he told me… this was the first time I’ve even gotten this year and say, ‘okay what do I need to get better at?’ He wrote some things down, literally just, ‘Here are some things, we’ll talk about them in a couple weeks.’ I’ll have a better answer in a couple of weeks when I can study the film, and really break it down, and see what I can do better.”
His progression has come alongside current quarterbacks coach and possible future offensive coordinator Todd Downing, as the coach stated he would get back to Carr with a list of areas to improve upon. The two share a connection and seem to be in position to headline the offense going into 2017.
Carr’s last message during the interview was for Raider Nation. When talking about the fans, he stated that Raider Nation should be excited for what is to come. The 12-4 season hadn’t been done since Carr was in Elementary school, with him stating the future is bright on their return to greatness.