Raiders' Derek Carr Says It's 'Ridiculous' to Question If He Can Win Playoff Game

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVApril 14, 2022

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws a pass in the second half during an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Emilee Chinn)
AP Photo/Emilee Chinn

Although he has yet to accomplish the feat during his career, Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has no doubt that he is capable of leading the Raiders to a playoff win.

According to ProFootballTalk's Michael David Smith, Carr said:

"The question of, 'Can I win a playoff game?' Yeah, that’s ridiculous. Yes. Just because we haven't, just because we had one chance and we lost in the last series of the game to the AFC champions? Yeah, I think we can. It just shows you how close we were. But with that said, 55 percent of the teams that make the playoffs, the next year don't. So the odds are against us. I like that kind of thought process better, so I'm going to keep that underdog mentality, and that chip on the shoulder mindset. But at the same time, I know what I'm capable of, I know what our team's capable of, and I'm excited to see. I know we have to earn that spot, I think we were a fifth seed [or] something like that, and now we have to earn more than that. That's the goal. With this division that will be tough, but we're excited for that challenge."

Carr led the Raiders to the playoffs last season as a wild card with a 10-7 record, marking the team's first playoff appearance since 2016.

Their time in the postseason was short-lived, however, as they fell 26-19 in the AFC Wild Card Round to a Cincinnati Bengals team that went on to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

The Raiders clearly have confidence in Carr, as they signed him to a three-year, $121.5 million contract extension through 2025 on Wednesday.

Carr has been the Raiders' starting quarterback ever since entering the league as a second-round pick in 2014, but overall team success has been scarce during that stretch.

The only other time the Raiders reached the playoffs under Carr was in 2016, but he suffered a season-ending injury late in the year and couldn't play in the postseason, leading to a 27-14 loss to the Houston Texans in the AFC Wild Card Round.

While Carr has never been considered an elite quarterback during his career, he has long been a solid starter who has put up some good numbers along the way.

In addition to being a three-time Pro Bowler, Carr has completed 65.0 percent of his pass attempts in 127 career regular-season games while throwing for 31,700 yards, 193 touchdowns and 85 interceptions.

That included last season, when he completed 68.4 percent of his passes for a career-high 4,804 yards to go along with 23 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

Carr's passing volume was higher than ever last season with 626 attempts, and it may go up even more in 2022 following the acquisition of superstar wide receiver Davante Adams from the Green Bay Packers.

The arrival of Adams has resulted in expectations reaching the highest level they ever have been during Carr's tenure.

Along with Carr being surrounded by weapons like Adams, Hunter Renfrow, Darren Waller and Josh Jacobs on offense, he also has an offensive guru as his head coach now.

Longtime New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels took the Raiders' head coaching job and will work closely with Carr, which could help the 31-year-old veteran enjoy his best season yet.

Even so, simply getting to the playoffs figures to be a massive challenge, as the Raiders are stuck in arguably the NFL's toughest division in the AFC West.

The Kansas City Chiefs have won the division six years running, and while they traded No. 1 wideout Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins this offseason, they still have quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce, making them a highly dangerous team.

The Denver Broncos made a significant improvement this offseason by acquiring quarterback Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks and adding him to a roster that seemed to be only a quarterback away from playoff and even Super Bowl contention.

The Los Angeles Chargers haven't reached the playoffs in either of Justin Herbert's first two seasons at quarterback, but he is an elite talent with top-tier weapons, and the defense got significantly better this offseason with the additions of cornerback J.C. Jackson and pass-rusher Khalil Mack.

While the Raiders got much better in their own right this offseason, Carr is likely No. 4 out of the four starting quarterbacks in the AFC West, meaning he will have to step up in a big way in 2022 just to get Las Vegas back to the playoffs.