Oakland Raiders: 5 burning questions in 2018

Mandatory Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Mandatory Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images /
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2. Which Derek Carr will emerge?

In 2016, Derek Carr was arguably the front runner to win MVP. He was as clutch as it gets, leading seven fourth quarter or overtime comebacks. His heroics were essentially the only reason the Raiders finished with a 12-4 record. However, a broken leg in Week 16 cost Carr the award and the team’s season was effectively over.

Then, in 2017 Carr looked like a shell of his 2016 self. This could be attributed to a number of different factors. Maybe he was hesitant after the broken leg, maybe his back fracture lingered longer than the one week that it sidelined him? Add in a rookie offensive coordinator who was in over his head, Carr took a huge step back.

So it begs the question, which Carr are the Raiders going to get in 2018? Will he be back to the player the team saw in 2016? Or will he be timid and ineffective like he was in 2017? With Gruden now in town, expectations have sky rocketed. A quarterback ‘guru’ has finally gotten his crown jewel, what will he do with it? Carr and Gruden having a good relationship will be incredibly vital should the Raiders want to return to the playoffs.

If Carr returns to form and is the franchise quarterback the team drafted him to be, the team will do well. If he and Gruden bash heads and Carr struggles, the team will falter. As Carr goes, so do the Raiders. He’s the leader and face of the franchise, and he needs to firmly take his place as an elite NFL quarterback.