Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is heading into his first offseason back in the league in a decade. It has presented a fresh opportunity to push the franchise back to relevancy after a disappointing 2017 NFL season.
The situation has presented him with a chance to coach one of the top young quarterbacks in the league in Derek Carr. According to Josh Dubow of Associated Press, Gruden voiced his excitement about being able to work with a talented player like Carr next season and likely well beyond that:
“I got really excited out there today,” Gruden said. “You can have a really creative imagination with that guy at the quarterback position. He can make every throw. It comes out of his hand fast and accurate. He’s mobile and sharp. He’s a great leader.”
Carr is coming off a season where he experienced a notable drop in effectiveness throwing the ball as he dealt with a nagging back injury that had initially forced him to miss a game due to suffering three transverse process fractures. This contributed to him more than doubling his amount of interceptions from six to 13 while completion percentage also took a dip.
Despite that, the Raiders have revamped the offense by bringing aboard a pair of proven wide receivers in Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant that could step in to fortify the team’s passing game. This should help provide the team will a more potent offense that could allow for Marshawn Lynch to build off his strong finish to the 2017 season.
Keep in mind, Carr is just two seasons removed from being considered a strong candidate for the MVP award before a hand injury derailed his season. This fresh start under Gruden along with an improved receiving core could equate to a big year from the Raiders quarterback while leading the team back to the playoffs.