Raiders’ Carr steps up after coach steps down

Veteran signal caller steadies team after Gruden bombshell

Derek Carr

In the wake of the Jon Gruden email controversy rose a leader the Las Vegas Raiders always knew they could count on. And now the rest of the league knows, too.

Indeed, after their head coach’s resignation on Oct. 18 after the surfacing of offensive emails, many expected the Raiders — who were 4-2 at the time and tied for the lead in the AFC West — to fold like a cheap suit. But their veteran quarterback wasn’t about to allow that.

“I’m still here as a leader,” Derek Carr told the media after the Raiders’ emphatic 34-24 victory over the Denver Broncos that following Sunday, one in which the 30-year-old Fresno State product clearly rose to the occasion by completing 18 of 27 passes for 341 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions for a 134.4 quarterback rating. The vintage performance not only gave interim coach Rich Bisaccia his first victory but also earned Carr NFL Player of the Week honors for Week 6.

And that game has merely been a microcosm of his season so far. Through six games, Carr is among the best in the league in many key categories, including passing yards (1,946; second), yards per game (324.3; second), completions (149; eighth) and touchdowns (10; tied for 11th). But more importantly, he’s kept the Raiders in the playoff hunt in the AFC at a time when things could have gone the other way. Truly, the sign of a leader.

Carr and the Raiders can be seen in action on Nov. 14 when they play host to the division rival Kansas City Chiefs in a game airing on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

Player Profile

Full name: Derek Dallas Carr

Birth date: March 28, 1991

Birthplace: Bakersfield, Calif. (raised in Bakersfield and Sugar Land, Texas)

Height/weight: 6 feet, 3 inches/210 pounds

Teams: Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders (2014-present)

Position: Quarterback

No.: 4

College: Fresno State

Draft: Selected in the second round (36th overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Raiders

Honors and achievements: Three-time Pro Bowl selection (2015-17); two-time Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year (2012, 2013); Mountain West champion (2013); two-time All-Mountain West (2012, 2013); Sammy Baugh Trophy for the nation’s top collegiate passer (2013)

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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