Derek Carr Has Raiders Offense 'Mastered More Than I Do,' Jon Gruden Says

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2018

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden talks with quarterback Derek Carr during NFL football practice Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018, in Napa, Calif. Both the Oakland Raiders and the Detroit Lions held a joint practice before their upcoming preseason game on Friday. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Eric Risberg/Associated Press

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is already an expert when it comes to the new offensive scheme head coach Jon Gruden has brought to the team.

"I think he's one of the best, in terms of processing information," Gruden said of Carr, per NBC Sports Bay Area's Scott Bair. "I think he craves new things. He wants more… 'What do we have today? What are we doing today? What's new? What do we got?' He has a photographic memory. It comes so easy to him. He's got the offense mastered more than I do."

Gruden's comments were probably music to the team's ears. Carr's development was likely a primary focus when owner Mark Davis identified Gruden as Jack Del Rio's replacement.

During his time away from coaching, Gruden turned himself into a quarterback expert, be it through his analysis on Monday Night Football or his QB Camp series with incoming rookies on ESPN.

Earlier this month, Carr praised Davis and Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie for bringing in Gruden.

"So for [Davis] to go get Coach Gruden, we have to take the next step and it's like, well, you know, if we had to do it, well thank you for bringing someone in that believes in me, wants to teach me, wants me to be better," he said, per's Paul Gutierrez. "So absolutely, man, I thank Mr. Davis and Mr. McKenzie all the time."

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Although Carr went to the Pro Bowl for the third straight season in 2017, it was a somewhat disappointing year for the 2014 first-round pick. He threw for 3,496 yards, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions—all worse numbers compared to 2016 (3,937 yards for 28 touchdowns and six interceptions). His quarterback rating also fell from 96.7 to 86.4.

Oakland's future rests largely on Carr's right arm. He's entering the first season of his five-year, $125 million extension, which showed the Raiders' belief in his potential.

If Gruden can bring out the best in Carr, then Oakland will be a Super Bowl contender. Should Carr fail to show significant improvement, it could put a ceiling on how high the team can rise.