ALAMEDA — The Raiders young foundation has crumbled. Cracks formed this offseason, when signing Khalil Mack proved difficult. A large chunk broke off when the All-Pro edge rusher was traded to Chicago on Sept. 1. Then another fell and then another over the last few weeks.
Amari Cooper was sent to Dallas. Bruce Irvin was waived and quickly signed with Atlanta.
Mack, Cooper and Irvin. Gone in a flash.
Those three were the most recognizable Raiders outside Derek Carr and Marshawn Lynch. BeastMode is on injured reserve and now around full-time.
Now only the franchise quarterback remains as the lone playing face of the franchise, and its primary locker room leader. That’s a considerable burden, especially with the Raiders unable to win unless Carr is excellent.
Carr considers these strange times, especially while this tear down coincides with a dismal 1-7 record.
“I mean, I understand. It’s tough, it hurts and it’s hard,’ Carr said Wednesday. “No one pays me to care about my feelings or any of our feelings. I have a lot of friends that have been cut or traded, not just this year but for five years. That’s always hard. You look around and “Coop” is not sitting behind me in the offensive meeting anymore and Khalil is not sitting next to me in a team meeting. I go to Bruce’s locker and it is not Bruce’s locker anymore. Guys that I am still really close with, that I still talk with, I even talked to this morning …
“That they aren’t there, absolutely it’s different. Absolutely it’s something that’s not normal to me because I used to come in everyday and see them.
“Going forward my job is to take whatever our owner, GM and head coach say and relay the message. Just do my best, that’s my job. My job is to go out there and complete passes, lead my guys the best that I can and that’s my job. That’s what I am here to do.”
Carr is here to be ambassador and on-field producer, a difficult task without much help in either arena. The thought of a full rebuild is admittedly difficult to grasp after going through such an effort in 2014.
The fifth-year veteran is going to work through the tough time the only way he knows how.
“It’s a hard time right now, but I do know this: we’re not going to stop fighting,” Carr said. “I’m not trying to lose anything. Every time I take the field, all of our teammates know that No. 4 is trying to win. That will never change.”
Winning has proven difficult, as hard as it was during a 10-game losing streak in 2014. There was optimism near that season’s end, that the Raiders found a quarterback and an edge rusher, two premium positions on a football team, and several other complimentary players.
This campaign has a different feel, with the rebuild yet to begin. The Raiders have lost four straight by at least 14 points. Carr is getting beat up in the backfield and the press, seemingly unable to do right. He’s either checking down too much or pressing too hard to make plays downfield, unable to meet 2016’s lofty standard while working his third offensive system in his fifth season.
The record is bothersome, maybe more so than it might seem for a quarterback who comes across polished at all times.
“I hate losing. I hate it with everything in me,” Carr said. “I hate losing more than anything. I work my tail off to make sure that our city, our fans, our team, our coaches can enjoy winning. Sitting here at 1-7 sucks but nothing in me is going to stop until I see the other side of it.
“Trust me I’m going to see the other side of it. When is it going to come? I don’t know. I wish I knew because it would make it easier on my heart. I do know that I will see the other side of it and I can’t wait. (I’ll) be more thankful for it then after going through this stuff.”1, 10, 2019, draft, entering, NFL, pick, Raiders, track, Week