Derek Carr Flashed Enough Potential to Lead the Raiders in 2015

The Oakland Raiders may have a franchise quarterback in Derek Carr, but it’s too early to anoint him after an up-and-down rookie season. It’s also far too early to give up on Carr, as the Raiders did a poor job surrounding him with talent.

Carr flashed enough potential to lead the Raiders in 2015, but anything beyond that will depend on his performance. That’s not only fair, but it acknowledges the reality of the situation on both sides.

Certain red flags exist in Carr’s game, which is why a recent ESPN Insider article suggested the Raiders should draft Marcus Mariota in 2015. Some of Carr’s rookie stats were ugly, so much so that if he improves beyond that of an average quarterback, he’ll be the exception and not the rule.

To argue for Carr is to argue that his rookie season really was an exception, which fortunately for the Raiders is actually easy to do. Many point to Carr’s 5.26 yards per attempt but ignore some of the main reasons why it was so low.

The Raiders had no running game. They averaged a league-low 77.5 yards per game, scored just four rushing touchdowns and averaged 3.68 yards per carry. Until they turned to Latavius Murray late in the year, it was even uglier than that.

Since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule, only two teams have been worse on the ground in all three categories. The 2005 Arizona Cardinals and the 1991 Indianapolis Colts managed the feat, and their quarterbacks likewise struggled.  

In Arizona, Kurt Warner and Josh McCown combined for 21 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. In Indy, sophomore quarterback Jeff George threw 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. By contrast, Carr’s 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions look pretty darn good.

Of the rookie quarterbacks since the merger to finish with fewer than 6.0 yards per attempt on 300 or more attempts, Carr has the highest net-adjusted yards-p...

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