Derek Carr has ‘gone downhill’ since Jon Gruden left Raiders, former NFL GM says

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Derek Carr nearly got the New Orleans Saints back to the playoffs in 2023 in his first season as their starting quarterback after spending nine years with the Las Vegas Raiders.

But in the days since the Raiders parted ways with head coach Jon Gruden over a leaked email scandal, the team’s former general manager Mike Mayock hasn’t been impressed.

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Jon Gruden and Derek Carr

Jon Gruden of the Raiders talks to quarterback Derek Carr before the Jacksonville Jaguars game at RingCentral Coliseum on Dec. 15, 2019, in Oakland, California. (Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

“I thought Jon did an unbelievable job with Derek Carr,” Mayock said on a recent episode of the “3 & Out” podcast. “Since Jon left, Derek has gone downhill.”

Gruden was fired in the middle of the 2021 season. Then-special teams coach Rich Bisaccia was named the interim coach and before the 2022 season, Las Vegas brought in Josh McDaniels as the new head coach. Dave Ziegler also replaced Mayock as general manager.

Carr was a four-time Pro Bowler with the Raiders, three of which came when he was being coached under Jack Del Rio. When Gruden took over, Carr started a string of seasons in which he threw for 4,000 or more passing yards. He hasn’t hit that mark since 2021.

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Derek Carr on the sidelines

Derek Carr of the New Orleans Saints after the game against the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on Dec. 31, 2023, in Tampa, Florida. (Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

The quarterback was rumored to be on the trade block after the 2021 season, but Mayock maintained the team never entertained offers.

“The reality is that there’s always going to be X number of franchise quarterbacks,” Mayock added on the podcast. “One group below that is another five or six guys that I think you can win with.… I felt strongly that each year with Jon, Derek got better and by the end of the ’21 season, whether you were a Derek Carr guy or not, I think you’d have to say he was a top 12 or 13 quarterback.”

Carr joined the Saints in the 2023 offseason.

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Derek Carr vs Bucs

New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr passes against the Buccaneers on Dec. 31, 2023, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

He finished with 3,878 passing yards, 25 touchdown passes and eight interceptions. It was the first time he threw for fewer than 10 interceptions since 2020.

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