Why the Raiders Can Still Win a Super Bowl Without Derek Carr
Elias Trejo – Dec 26, 2016
'Twas the day after Christmas in the Raider Nation and we're full of disbelief and full of frustration. It's been over a decade since the team could go this far, but they'll have to do it without Derek Carr. On Christmas eve we tucked in our children all snug in their beds, with thought of Carr's injury running through our heads. Before this weekend we had thoughts of a 1st round bye, but now we're seeing a bunch of grown men cry.
There's a lot being said and a whole lot of chatter, but the reality is it all doesn't matter. The team still has a tremendous O Line and a top five rushing attack. They also have an improving defense led by Khalil Mack. I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend, you could cut ties with all the lies that you've been living in. Now get that damn frown out of sight, we have a game to play next week and this Raiders team is still coming to fight.
Ok, so I threw in some Third Eye Blind in there, but my point is made. The Raiders playoff journey this year has been tremendous to watch and it's not over yet. While Carr is out with a broken fibula, the Raiders still have some football left to play and they are built to make a run even with their star quarterback out. Here are a couple of reasons why the Raiders will still be Super Bowl contenders without Derek Carr.
The Focus on Offense Changes
When you have a quarterback like Derek Carr, it's great to sling the ball 40 times a game because that's your strength. The Raiders were a pass happy team with Carr because they could be. Sometimes they would do it too much just because they could. Now with Carr out, we should see some major adjustments with the offense, but that doesn't mean this offense won't be dangerous.
Look for the focus to shift more towards the running game, which has already been averaging 157.25 yards per game over the last four weeks. What makes that number even more impressive is that the Raiders have been achieving those types of numbers with Carr mostly playing from the shotgun because of an injured finger. The run game will be more diverse with McGloin under center. The trio of Latavius Murray, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington should provide the Raiders with plenty of options in the run game.
Keep in mind that these running backs are mostly fresh and should be ready to step up come playoff time. Also, keep in mind that these guys run behind the 2nd best offensive line in football. All three of these running backs are also a threat with their pass catching abilities. Speaking of catching abilities, the Raiders still have two of the best wide recievers in the NFL with Cooper and Crabtree.
McGloin is coming into a situation that will allow him to have success. It's important to remember that we don't need McGloin to be Derek Carr. We need McGloin to be himself and reduce mistakes. He is still a very capable player at quarterback and he can make a lot of throws. The best thing about this McGloin situation is that he has been a part of this offense for two years and his coacing staff has shown the ability to be verstatile and construct their offense around their player's strengths.
McGloin is far from the worst quarterback in the AFC and he could be the 4th best quarterback in the AFC playoffs this year. The talent around him could easily elevate his game enough to provide fireworks because this team is still a very dangerous team on offense. There is no doubt that this offense will be different without Carr, but it's not going to be completely derailed. They will still be able to score points and they will still have plenty of opportunities.
The Pressure on Defense Mounts at The Right Time
The Raiders defense leads the league with an 18+ turnover margin. They have created the second most turnovers in the league, including 10 over their last four games. This is happening because of the Raiders pass rush and their awareness to make plays on the ball. Khalil Mack may not be getting sacks every game but the pressure he creates along with Bruce Irvin is enough to make the opposing quarterbacks get rid of the ball sooner than they'd like. This has opened up opportunities for the Raiders secondary to take advantage of poorly thrown balls.
Oakland's defense is becoming a force as the season comes to an end and they keep adding key pieces. Mario Edwards Jr. recently just joined the Raiders after missing the entire season. There is also a possibility that Aldon Smith could join the Raiders this postseason. Oakland's front seven needs to play better down the stretch and the pieces are there for them to do it. The Raiders offfense may not be able to put up 30 points a game moving forward, but they may not have to.
Oakland's defense has only allowed 30 points twice since allowing 30 points in their first two games of the season. They haven't allowed an opposing offense to go over 400 yards since week seven after letting teams average 444.8 yards per game in the first six weeks. The defense is getting stronger at the right time of the year and now each player on that side of the ball is going to have to step up and do their jobs better to make sure they can lead the Raiders to their first playoff victory in over a decade.
There is a mix of elite talent and above average talent and experience on this Raiders defense. Mack alone can help this team win a game, but he's not alone and has plenty of capable players playing around him. The Raiders defense must now take on the role as the strongest unit on the team, and they are more than capable of leading the Raiders to victory.
The Time is Still Now to Win a Title
Let us first remember that there are 52 grown men on this Raiders team besides Carr. They are professionals that are paid to do their jobs, so they still wake up everyday with a goal in mind and that doesn't change because Carr is out. For a team with a back up or a young inexperienced quarterback to have success they need to have a few things.
First they need to make sure they have a strong offensive line, which the Raiders already do. It would also benefit the quarterback to have weapons around him. McGloin will be walking into an offense that has two top 20 wide receivers and an offense that features three versatile running backs that lead the fifth best rushing attack in the league.
It would also benefit the team to have a strong defense. The Raiders defense is coming into it's own right now as they lead the league with an 18+ turnover ratio. They also have a leading candidate for defensive player of the year. So before you start thinking that this Raiders season is over, maybe it's time we start looking at the rest of the roster.
What Reggie McKenzie has built over the last four years is real and the next man up has stepped in well this season when he's needed too. The Raiders coaching staff knows exactly what they have in Matt McGloin and the rest of the roster. This is why McGloin was tendered with a 2nd round draft pick. This is why he was kept on the roster since 2013 over guys like Matt Flynn, Matt Schaub, Terrelle Pryor, Tyler Wilson and ahead of Conor Cook.
McKenzie has found some gems as undrafted free agents and McGloin could very well show how talented McKenzie and his scouting department is. Raider Nation, your team is in the playoffs for the first time in over a decade. Now is not the time to act like the season is over, because for the first time over a long time our season will go into January and this team will be ready to fight.
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