As the Raiders were rolling through their 2016 schedule en route to a 12-4 record and a playoff berth, quarterback Derek Carr was riding high.
Game after game he made clutch throws. Halfway through his third NFL season, he was being mentioned as an MVP candidate.
After watching Carr throw for a Raiders-record 513 yards in a 30-24 overtime win over Tampa Bay, head coach Jack Del Rio told the media it was another “awesome” performance by his quarterback.
“I think we’ll continue to see good ones from him,” said Del Rio. “He’s very confident, he’s got some weapons that he’s utilizing and he had a heck of a performance today.”
Though an injury in the next-to-last game of the regular season knocked him out of the playoffs, it didn’t dim what Carr accomplished. In 15 games he threw for 3,937 yards, 28 touchdowns, just six interceptions and had a career-high quarterback rating of 96.7. He had seven game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime and finished tied for third in league MVP voting.
Now, as he enters his fourth pro season, Carr – taking part in the Raiders’ organized team activities (OTAs) this week -- says his play in 2016 was good, but it should be better.
“I really hope I get better every year,” he told Anthony Galaviz of the Sacramento Bee. “It’s crazy to say Year 3 to Year 4 now. … I’m getting old, but it’s crazy to say that and think, ‘Oh yeah, there’s more out there,’ because there is. There’s always room to improve and I’m going to work to try to do that.”
He admits, though, that even if the Raiders win the Super Bowl, he still won’t be satisfied.
“I’m sure I’ll find something I did wrong that season and fix those things,” he said.
Carr still is awaiting a contract extension from the Raiders, and hopes to have something done before training camp. Once camp begins, he doesn’t want to deal with the distraction of contract negotiations.
One thing is certain: he wants to always be a Raider.
“I don’t want to play for anybody else,” he said recently.