ALAMEDA -- Derek Carr says he intends to be the Raiders' quarterback "when we turn this thing around." Jon Gruden says he "likes Derek Carr, thinks he will be a great quarterback in the NFL" and has no intention of trading him ... unless of course something comes up because "you should never say never."
And with that, I believe everyone is convinced that the turbulent times in Oakland are done, and the stability Gruden says he craves is right on the doorstep and approaching the bell, give or take a couple of years.
Gruden and Carr both spoke Wednesday in the aftermath of Monday's Amari Cooper trade to the Cowboys, and while both took care to say non-incendiary things in specific, they both recognized that rebuilds "suck." And Carr, not Gruden, is the one who said "suck."
"I can tell you I never imagined we'd be going through this (after going 12-4 two years ago)," Carr said, reminding folks that he entered his professional life in the middle of a similar rebuilding plan. "But that's football. There's nothing quite like losing in the NFL."
In that vein, Carr also was afforded another first when he was asked if this was the first time he'd ever been asked if he was accused of crying, as he was in a story by The Athletic. As expected, he laughed it off.
"Our trainer sent me some pictures of me working out and I had the same face," the quarterback said. "So I guess my workouts are really painful."
In trying to minimize the tumult of the last two days, and of the two months before that, Carr said blithely, "when you're losing, crap happens." Gruden, on the other hand, had his coaching shields up on a number of topics, most notably when he thought he needed to abandon his original plan and start breaking down the set for a new show in a new town.
"I'm not going to get into that right now" was a convenient phrase for the coach as he repeatedly said that "things change. You might have a first-and-10 and gain 6 yards, and you plan to do one thing, and then you get a holding penalty or something comes up. All I can tell you is, we're trying to do what we can for the Oakland Raiders and for the future of the franchise."
Acknowledging that the Raiders are a bifurcated concept, simultaneously serving two audiences poorly, is proof that Gruden knows part of why the Cooper trade has worsened the atmosphere outside the club, but there is no clear path to smoothing any of it over. Just as he didn't engage in speculation about when the plan started changing in his head, neither did he offer an idea of when they might stop, probably because they aren't likely to any time soon.
The teardown has just begun, after all, and while it undeniably has been clumsy in execution so far, nothing says it won't be more smoothly handled as it continues.
Indeed, in a musical of odd notes, Carr's "I'm the quarterback here today, I'm confident I'll be here tomorrow and when we turn this around, I'm confident I'll be the quarterback then, too" might be the least convincing of all. Not because it can't be true, but because nobody is sure what is true around here on a daily basis any more.