From time to time in 2018, Raiders coach Jon Gruden has publicly criticized Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. And, of course, Gruden has bristled at the efforts by some in the media (hand raised emoji) to point out that he has publicly criticized Carr.
Speaking with reporters covering the Seahawks on Tuesday, Gruden heaped praise on Carr. For the most part.
“We’ve had some really great individual play from Derek Carr,” Gruden said. “He’s had three or four plays, obviously, that he’s got to clean up and eliminate no question, but we’ve had a lot of moving parts. We’ve had three different right tackles, we’ve had two rookies start on the edge for us, we’ve had two different left guards, a lot of receivers have come and gone, we’ve struggled on defense. He’s kept us in games. I think he’s doing an excellent job. We’ve only been together five games. I’m excited about this guy, man. He’s completing a lot of passes for a lot of yards and he’s just getting warmed up, I believe. We have some things to tighten up. He knows that, I know that, but I’ve been very pleased with the progress he’s made.”
So, yes, there’s praise. But there’s also the ever-present criticism. And if we’re hearing it publicly, Carr is definitely hearing it privately.
The real question is whether that approach will work. Will it get the very best out of Carr, or will any worries while in the moment that whatever he does can and will be used against him by his coach affect his play?
Whatever the answer, it’s far more likely that Carr will have to adjust to Gruden than that Gruden will have to adjust to Carr. Gruden is still going to be who he is, who he’s always been. If Carr can’t deal with that, it will be Carr not Gruden who ends ip moving on.