Raiders' Darren Waller: Derek Carr 'Can Take Us Everywhere We Want to Go'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2021

Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller #83 and quarterback Derek Carr #4 talk on the sideline during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jeff Bottari)
Jeff Bottari/Associated Press

Darren Waller knows the pressure is on the Las Vegas Raiders to make the playoffs in Jon Gruden's fourth season.

That said, he's not on board with the people who think changing quarterbacks is the answer. 

"I have all the belief in the world in Derek Carr," Waller said on Good Morning Football. "I have ever since I got here. I still do to this day. I think he's a guy that can take us everywhere we want to go."

Raiders general manager Mike Mayock appeared on NFL Network on Wednesday and was also highly complimentary of Carr, saying 2020 was his "best year yet."

Carr threw for 4,103 yards and 27 touchdowns against nine interceptions in 2020, his seventh season as the Raiders first-string quarterback. While he's a decidedly above-average NFL starter—both advanced metrics and traditional numbers ranked him as a top-10 quarterback in several categories—some have wondered if the Raiders offense is limited with him as the franchise face.

Most of the previous criticisms about Carr—namely an inability or unwillingness to throw downfield—have proved to be false narratives. The NFL's Next Gen Stats show that Carr is aggressive with the football more often than nearly every Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback in the league, and he was one of the league's most accurate quarterbacks versus his expected completion percentage.

The Raiders are not particularly loaded at receiver, either, so Carr's passing and Gruden's system deserve a ton of credit. Waller has become Carr's favorite target since bursting on the scene in 2019, compiling 197 receptions for 2,341 yards and 12 touchdowns over the last two seasons.

Where Vegas has failed at building a winner has been on the defensive side of the ball. It's ranked among the five worst defenses in football each of the last four seasons, per Football Outsiders' DVOA metric.