The Oakland Raiders, once a perennial powerhouse in the National Football League (NFL), have fallen on hard times in recent years, actually for well over a decade now. Poor drafts and free agent pickups have kept this team in the “doldrums: in the West Division of the American Football Conference (AFC).
The team’s late owner, Al Davis, once thought to be a brilliant strategist, could do nothing in his declining years to change his team’s fortunes. But nothing lasts forever, including “bad times.”
The current management of the Oakland Raiders appeared to make a wise selection in the 2014 NFL Draft when it selected a quarterback from Fresno State University with the thirty-sixth overall choice in Round Two.
His name was Derek Carr, a right-handed passer who looks as if he will become a franchise quarterback. In truth, this twenty-four year old athlete may already be the answer to Oakland’s need for a game-changing signal caller.
Carr, who was an All American in college in his junior and senior seasons, as well as a two time Mountain West Conference (MWC) Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013 used his first season behind center to set offensive records for a rookie for Oakland, a team that has had many great quarterbacks, including Darryl Lamonica and the late Kenny Stabler.
In his inaugural professional season, Carr passed for more yards, three thousand two hundred seventy, than any other rookie Raiders quarterback in team history. Equally important, he was named to the EA Sports All-Rookie team.
The Raiders, a squad that had been losing more games than it won for most of the twenty-first century, began to improve its on-field performance. While the squad faltered somewhat in the second half of last season and ended up with a losing record, it was clear to team management, its players and the club’s loyal fans that Derek Carr as quarterback was already “making a difference.”
His continuing improvement has helped this year’s team get off to a good start. After six games, the Oakland Raiders have won three games and lost an equal number. The record has this developing squad sitting in second place, three games behind the division-leading and unbeaten Denver Broncos.
First place may be out of reach, but at this point Oakland certainly is in contention for one of two wild cards. It is obvious, of course, that the Raiders will have to bring their “A” game to every contest if they want to play after the regular season ends.
But, in 2015, the Oakland Raiders appear to be playing with a new-found confidence. Solid play over the squad’s remaining ten games could enable this squad to “punch its ticket” to the playoffs.
Courtesy of Fansided