Del Rio: This Is "Make-Or-Break" Year For Derek Carr

If Carr does not perform well this season, it could be his last with the Raiders

Zach Gelb
July 15, 2019 - 10:26 am
Derek Carr Raiders

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Jon Gruden’s first year in Oakland couldn’t have gone much worse. The Raiders went 4-12 and finished 28th in scoring offense, averaging 18.1 points per game. After adding wide receivers Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams and drafting running back Josh Jacobs, however, the Raiders hope to be much more explosive this season.

Derek Carr just needs to put it all together.

“He’s very gifted,” former Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said on The Zach Gelb Show. “I believe if you protect him well, he can light people up. We had a great time there.”

Carr performed well under Del Rio in 2015-2016, throwing for 3,900+ yards each season and combining for 60 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.

"In the three years that I was there, he did some really good things for us,” Del Rio said. “From the outside looking in, it looks like this is a make-or-break kind of year for him and his future there. They’ve set the talent up around him. The biggest thing is will they be able to protect him the way they need to so he can do his thing? If they do, he can light some people up.”

Gruden, perhaps more than any other NFL coach, will have to manage a lot of outspoken personalities this season, including the aforementioned Brown. 

Del Rio is happy that problem is someone else’s.

“You can’t motivate out of fear like you once could,” Del Rio said. “Coaches need to understand that. It’ll be interesting because if things don’t go the way he wants, he’s going to speak his mind and that could lead to some awkward moments for the coach.”

Del Rio, 56, coached in the NFL from 1997 to 2017. He doesn’t like how things ended in Oakland – he was fired in December 2017 after a 6-10 season – but he is proud of his time there.

“I’m proud of the job we did,” he said. “We did a great job there. It was not an easy task to get that thing turned around, and we did. We put in a lot of good work that we can be proud of. NFL owners, they an do what they want. Mark Davis can do way he wants, and he certainly did. He promised me when I went there if I turned it around that he would reward me with an extension. He did reward me with that extension. Then he had an opportunity to get Jon and went ahead and pulled the trigger on it despite owning me a lot of money.”

Gruden is in the second year of a 10-year, $100 million contract.

“I’m grateful, appreciative of the fact that I got a chance to coach my childhood team,” Del Rio said. “I don’t like the way it ended, but I’m definitely not going to look at my life and say, ‘Woe is me.’ I’ve been very blessed, I’ve worked hard and I’ve never been one to look back and be a person with regret or doubt or harboring bad feelings. I move forward. I’m moving on, I’m moving forward, enjoying life, and looking forward to the next opportunity.”

Click below to listen to Del Rio’s interview in its entirety.