Few players in the NFL today play with as much passion at the quarterback position as Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders. Although many weren't certain whether Carr could be a star on the NFL level, that notion has been put to rest with an MVP-caliber performance during the 2016 season.
Unfortunately, Carr suffered a season-ending injury on Dec. 24 against the Indianapolis Colts. Without Carr the following week against the Denver Broncos, the once-dominant Raiders offense really struggled on the road ultimately losing to their division rivals while also failing to secure a first-round bye in the playoffs. Carr, who could only watch the Raiders offense sputter with Matt McGloin and Connor Cook trying to fill his shoes, said it is hard to watch, via Scott Bair of CSN Bay Area:
“It ripped my heart out,” Carr said. “I sat there on my couch with my foot propped up, my wife sitting by me and my boys playing with monster trucks on the ground. We watched it together. It was hard for me. I had the game plan in front of me. Coach Musgrave gave me one, so I knew which plays were coming. I could see what we were going through, so I was just playing the game in my head. It was hard because there was nothing physically I could do. I couldn’t be there for my guys. That was the toughest part, not being there with my teammates.”
The Raiders went from being the potential No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs to No. 5 with the loss to the Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs win over the San Diego Chargers. Oakland could have used the extra week to prepare McGloin, who suffered a shoulder injury in the loss, or rookie quarterback Cook.
Instead, the Raiders will be thrust into a game on the road against the Houston Texans this weekend. Houston, who has had quarterback issues of their own for different reasons, is favored in this contest because of the drastic dropoff without Carr under center.
Before Carr went down in Week 16 against the Colts, the Fresno State product had made a strong case for NFL MVP with 3,937 passing yards, 28 touchdowns, and only six interceptions. Carr quickly became a star attraction in Oakland along with defensive beast Khalil Mack. Oakland has something to build off of even if they fall short in the postseason.