Raiders' Carr Admired by Gruden

Former Oakland coach praises Carr's leadership, arm and abilities, saying he believes Raiders can take a big step forward

As a rookie, Derek Carr wasn’t perfect. The quarterback from Fresno State won just three games and averaged just 5.5 yards per pass attempt.

Some analysts looked at his performance and were troubled by the fact he too often threw very short routes and didn't challenge defenses with deep balls.

The analytics website looked at his season in February and questioned just how good Carr really is, using a stat called Net Expected Points to conclude that Carr wasn’t as good as some of his stats indicated. After all, Carr threw 21 TD passes against just 12 interceptions and threw for more than 3,200 yards, a Raiders rookie record.

But sometimes numbers don’t tell the whole story.

The Raiders believe they found a franchise quarterback in Carr, and so does former Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, now an ESPN analyst.

Gruden spoke this week about Carr this week in a conference call with the media about the upcoming NFL Draft, and Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group noted that he voiced strong support for Carr.

“I just love the way he took control of that football team,” Gruden said, according to McDonald. “He looked like he was in complete control. As a leader, he didn’t look like he was pressing at all. He had very good command.”

Gruden, in fact, believes that with a better cast around him in 2015, Carr is a good enough quarterback to lead the Raiders to make a move forward in the AFC West.

Gruden cited Carr’s “cannon” arm and his athleticism.

“If they can just continue on the path they’re on, add maybe a couple more guys to that set of receivers, the Raiders can make their way back. I’m excited for the Raiders as an ex-Oakland Raider myself. I really am impressed with Carr. I really root for him.”

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