The new Raiders coaching staff is focused on one, big thing to make the team better in 2018.
Get Derek Carr back on track.
“I think with the hiring of a head coach like Jon Gruden, everything that we do in this building is going to be about the development of Derek Carr,” said new offensive coordinator Greg Olson. “The way we script practices, the way we’re doing drills. Everything that we do is all about the development of the quarterback.”
Olson spoke to reporters Wednesday for the first time since returning to the Raiders, where he also served as offensive coordinator during Carr’s rookie season of 2014.
Olson says he’s been watching Carr ever since, and saw how far he progressed in 2016 when he put himself into the conversation about league MVP candidates. In 2016, Carr had career highs in completion percentage (63.8), touchdown-to-interception ratio (28-6), quarterback rating (96.7) and sacks taken (16). In 2017 he completed 62.7 percent of his throws, had 13 interceptions vs. 22 TD passes, saw his QB rating fall to 86.4 and was sacked 20 times.
Olson believes Carr can be that 2016 player again – or better.
“You see the arm talent there, you see the talented player,” Olson told the media. “He took, obviously, a step backward. But I just think there’s such a big jump from that Year 1 to Year 2 and he demonstrated that. He’s demonstrated growth throughout his career up until this past season. I just think you can see the more mature player. His knowledge of the game, you can see that on tape: the ability to get in and out of bad plays, get the ball out of his hand. I think there’s been some tremendous growth since I left him.”
Olson said the Raiders will grow “as Derek Carr grows.”
As Matt Schneidman of the Bay Area News Group noted, Gruden will call the plays for the Raiders in 2018, so Olson – as offensive coordinator – may be focused primarily on working with Carr. The team may not even hire a quarterbacks coach. That is still to be determined.