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Jon Gruden: Raiders looking to ‘unlock the greatness’ in Derek Carr – Oakland Raiders Blog

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ALAMEDA, Calif. — Derek Carr suffered a fractured pinkie finger on his passing hand on Nov. 27, 2016.

A fractured right fibula ended his season four weeks later.

This season, the Oakland Raiders quarterback fractured three bones in his back during Week 4.

Through it all, Carr insisted he was fine, thank you very much, even if he did not pass the eye or smell test.

“Three broken bones in your back,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said Tuesday in his introductory news conference, “I think that is a reasonable reason why you might not have the same season you had a year ago.”

And there it is.

The goal, then, in the simplest of terms, is for Gruden to “fix” Carr, right?

Well, that might be too simplistic. Besides, former Raiders who played for Gruden have all but said Carr is in for a culture shock when the brash and in-your-face Gruden coaches Carr up, as only he can … when the CBA allows, that is.

Because while up to 50 former Raiders showed up for Gruden’s presser, no current players were allowed in the facility. Unless they were rehabbing an injury.

And Gruden said he met with Carr earlier in the day, perhaps experiencing flashbacks to March 28, 2014. That was Carr’s 23rd birthday, and the day he visited Gruden’s QB Camp.

“My feelings are similar,” Gruden said. “He has great arm talent, he’s athletic, he’s got natural leadership skills, he’s young, he’s in his prime, he’s healthy now. He’s, I think, been in a lot of different systems, played for a number of different [coordinators]. There hasn’t been a lot of continuity around him that way.”

Indeed, Gruden will be Carr’s fourth coach in five seasons (Dennis Allen, Tony Sparano, Jack Del Rio and Gruden) while Olson will be his fourth offensive coordinator … after being his first.

Carr, who is usually very active on social media, has maintained a sort of radio silence in the wake of Gruden’s hiring. He did, however, respond to fans.

Carr’s Total QBR fell from 62.1 in 2016, when he finished tied for third in NFL MVP voting, to 47.2 last season.

“I think he has a huge upside,” Gruden said. “I think with Greg Olson and the system we are going to put in place is going to demand a lot from him and I think that is what is going to unlock the greatness in him, but very, very excited to have him as our quarterback.”

Gruden has never had a young, established quarterback in his prime in his coaching career.

With the Raiders, he had Jeff George, Donald Hollas, Wade Wilson and Rich Gannon start games. In Tampa Bay, Gruden had Brad Johnson, Rob Johnson, Shaun King, Chris Simms, Brian Griese, Bruce Gradkowski, Tim Rattay, Jeff Garcia and Luke McCown.

Gruden said he will call the offensive plays.

“That is what I’ve done the last 14 years of my career,” he said. “I like being with the quarterbacks. I like calling the plays.

“Somebody said I was insane a minute ago and it is probably exactly right. I have a different mentality than most guys I guess.”

Actually, I said Gruden was “insanely prepared” to return to the sidelines, given his work in the ESPN Monday Night Football booth the past nine seasons and his legendary work ethic with film study, when I asked about his coaching style meshing with today’s players.

Many wonder how that will jibe with Carr, whom Gruden wants to be a “CEO” on the field.

“I think there is a huge ceiling in Derek Carr,” Gruden said. “I think he has proven that. [It is] up to us as a coaching staff to improve around him, get more consistent, and come up with an offense that really allows him to soar into another level.

“It is exciting and I think if I was a Raiders fan, I would come every week very excited to see No. 4 under center.”



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