Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has established himself as one of the top young quarterbacks through his first four seasons in the league. However, he experienced a notable drop-off in production in the 2017 NFL season that contributed to the team’s shortcoming in failing to reach the playoffs.
Since the arrival of new head coach Jon Gruden, there has been a sense that things are shifting toward a more concentrated approach by the new coaching staff. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, Gruden is expected to take a sterner style of coaching with Carr this upcoming season:
“There was a feeling that, following the firing of former coordinator Bill Musgrave, he got too comfortable, because he was too close to Musgrave’s replacement, Todd Downing. Let’s just say that Jon Gruden and his staff know that, and it’s already apparent that Carr is going to be coached hard in 2018.”
The 27-year-old is coming off a season where he experienced a notable drop in production where he more than doubled the amount of interceptions thrown from six to 13 while his completion percentage also dropped. He also saw a decrease in touchdown passes from 28 to 22 along with his quarterback rating going from 96.7 to 86.4.
However, Carr was likely dealing with back issues for much of the year as he suffered three transverse process fractures in his back during the regular season. Carr was able to play through it for much of the campaign, missing just one game.
The relationship between Carr and Gruden will be vital to helping put together a successful season that could see them back in the playoff picture. Oakland has also provided their Pro Bowl quarterback with additional offensive weapons this offseason in a pair of proven wide receivers in Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant that should play big factors in the passing game in 2018.