(USA TODAY Sports)

The Silver and Black Pirates’ New Captain

That’s my quarterback.

Feel like having a good laugh? Take a look at the Oakland Raiders quarterbacks from 2003–2013. Pretty hilarious, right? For more than a decade, the Raiders have been a revolving door of average(Josh McCown) to wayyyy below average(Jamarcus Russell) quarterback play. Year after year, the Raiders were known as a laughing stock around the league. The laughing stopped two years when the Raiders drafted Derek Carr in the second round. Relatively unknown coming out of Fresno State, Carr was immediately given the keys, and hasn’t slowed down since.

As a rookie starter, he showed the most realistic promise for a Raiders quarterback in what seemed like forever. The team only went 3–13, and Carr’s numbers didn’t pop off the stat sheet, but you knew he wasn’t anything like the past Raiders quarterbacks. He had all the skills you want in a quarterback, physically: strong arm, good pocket presence, quick decision-making, knows when to chuck it vs. when to tuck it, etc. But it was the intangibles that Carr possesses that really stood out. His control of the huddle, desire to win, constant communication with teammates and coaches, and a great attitude all the time. You knew he was going to be the quarterback of the future, and couldn’t wait to see how he would progress.

(USA TODAY Sports)

Named a team captain going into his second season, Derek Carr proved he deserved to wear that “C” on his jersey. Carr improved on all of his stats, earning himself a spot in the Pro Bowl, as well as cracking the NFL Top 100 list. But again, what stood out the most were those intangibles. His confidence was palpable. When he was on the field, everyone listened to him. Even though they weren’t winning many games, you wouldn’t know it looking at Carr. His enthusiasm and positive attitude was contagious all season long. Just watch the Raiders’ comeback win in OT against the Chargers to see what I’m talking about.

(AP)

But the biggest thing that Carr got out of last season was trust. The trust of his teammates, his coaches, and the Raider Nation. His teammates and coaches trust him because they see the work he puts in Monday through Saturday to prepare himself and his team to be in the best possible situation to succeed. Then on Sundays, Carr gives his all for the team, and they want to make sure they give their all right back to translate the hard work into wins. You can see how much the team wants to win for each other, and it starts with Carr. And as fans, we trust Carr to carry the Raiders out of this decade-long slump. Like I stated before, Carr and the Raiders may not be giving us wins right now, but he is giving the Raider Nation hope, which is something the Raiders have had a lot less of than wins. Winning a Super Bowl this season might be a stretch, and making the playoffs would be really nice. But most importantly, there’s a sense of hope to get better and potentially become a serious contender in the AFC in the coming seasons. The Raiders are everyone’s favorite sleeper this season, and Derek Carr is a major reason why. With all eyes on Oakland, Carr is more than ready to accept the challenge, and the Raider Nation is more than ready to follow their captain of the Silver and Black pirate ship into the future.