Continued Improvement by Derek Carr Could Save Reggie McKenzie’s Job

The Oakland Raiders are 0-6 and marching steadily toward 0-16. If there is a win on the schedule, it isn’t clear against whom it will come. The Raiders already fired head coach Dennis Allen, and general manager Reggie McKenzie could be on his way out if things don’t turn around quickly.

Few general managers survive a season like the one the Raiders are having, but even fewer lose their job the year after finding what looks to be a franchise quarterback. Looks can obviously be deceiving, which is why quarterback Derek Carr’s continued improvement will be necessary if McKenzie has any prayer of keeping his job.

Arguments for and against McKenzie will be made over the next few months, but finding a franchise quarterback is like a trump card. Carr’s play can buy McKenzie another few years at the helm, because a franchise quarterback conceals a multitude of mistakes.

As Carr improves, so should the Raiders' odds of winning. Even a few wins could make all the difference for McKenzie and likely won’t affect the draft order in a significant way.

Carr has already come a long way in six games as a starter, but he’s far from perfect. The Raiders have to make building on Carr’s strengths and eliminating his weaknesses a priority over the last 10 games.


Stepping Up

One of the primary criticisms of Carr coming out of college was his ability to handle pressure. It’s not uncommon for a quarterback to struggle with pressure, but it obviously makes a huge difference when they can perform under duress.

Early on, Carr had his fair share of struggles under pressure, which confirmed his college scouting report. Part of this was Carr getting the right protections called so there wasn’t a free rusher coming at him, and part of it was simply him learning to step away from pressure. Carr has improved in both areas in recent weeks and nee...

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