There had been plenty of speculation regarding the situation under center for the Las Vegas Raiders in recent years.
Despite head coach Jon Gruden’s attempts to show confidence in quarterback Derek Carr as the long-term answer, this has been hampered by rumors of their reported interest in high-profile options during the offseason.
Carr has since silenced the critics with consecutive stellar performances during the Raiders’ 2-0 start to the 2021 NFL season. His performance so far has only helped solidify the coaching staff’s belief in the leader of their offense.
Gruden praised Carr’s performance through the first two weeks and hopes it would help him finally get the respect he deserves.
“I’ll just let his performance speak for itself,” Gruden said. “I’ve been clamoring for Derek Carr since I’ve been here. So, hopefully he gets some recognition for doing what he did today. He had some long drives. He was big again at the end of the game, against two great defenses two weeks in a row, and it’s a big reason we’ve been able to win.”
There is certainly plenty of truth to Gruden’s comments. Not only has Carr managed to rack up some impressive numbers so far, but he has also done it against two talented defenses between the Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens.
Perhaps even more encouraging is the connection Carr has built with the key members of his supporting cast.
Tight end Darren Waller carried the load in the passing game with 10 receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown. However, wide receiver Henry Ruggs stole the show with a 61-yard touchdown from Carr in the fourth quarter.
Ruggs finished the game with five receptions for 113 yards and is poised to emerge as a secondary option to Waller. With running back Josh Jacobs still on the mend due to ankle and toe injuries, the Raiders may need to rely on the passing game now more than ever.
Unfortunately, it remains to be seen if Carr will be forced to miss any action after suffering an ankle injury during the win. He received an MRI, and Gruden currently has him as questionable for Week 3 versus the Dolphins.
Carr’s injury may very well be alleviated by Miami’s injury woes under center after Tua Tagovailoa was dealt a rib injury last week. However, given the team’s hopes for a playoff run down the line, they may want to exercise caution in what will be the longest season in NFL history.