Derek Carr was having an MVP season in 2016 before breaking his leg in a 33-25 Week 16 win over the Colts. The Raiders, who were considered Super Bowl threats, lost their regular-season finale against Denver and bowed out in the Wild Card against Houston, scoring just 20 points combined in those losses.
Now, however, Carr is back and ready to lead.
“He’s excited. He just loves football,” USA Today Chargers and Raiders writer Will Reeve, Jr. said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “He told Bruce Irvin, ‘If you get through the line, I want you to hit me.’ This guy likes contact. He’s a football player. He wants to feel like he’s part of the game. Now the coaches would hate that – and obviously Irvin is not going to do that because the coaches would be all over him. But there was sincerity when he said that. He’s just a football player.”
Carr, 26, was a second-round draft pick in 2014. He has thrown 81 touchdowns and just 31 interceptions in three seasons with the Raiders. Last year, he threw 28 touchdowns and a career-low six picks.
“He (reminds you) a little bit of Brett Favre in his personality,” Reeve said. “He’s a little bit of a country boy. He’s very genuine. I’ve never seen him be anything other than 100 percent genuine, whether he’s on camera or off camera. There’s not many guys you can say that about. He’s just a terrific leader naturally. That’s also a very rare quality, whether it be in business or in sports. When you have the talent of an NFL quarterback and those natural leadership qualities, it’s a rare combination.”
Carr has improved across the board since his rookie season – and he only figures to get better.
“I saw it in year one with him. I knew he was going to be special,” Reeve said. “It’s going to be amazing to see what he’s going to do moving forward. I think he’s going to be a multiple-time MVP in this league based on talent and leadership alone, not because I cover the team.”