David White

David White: Derek Carr gives Raiders hope -- just not this season

Derek Carr is a born-again Christian who wants to live like Jesus. That's great, because if any NFL team needs a savior, it's the Oakland Raiders.

Forget walking on waves. Oakland needs Carr to pull off nothing short of a miracle on a water-made-wine scale: to resurrect a moribund franchise that's been in full plunge down a Black Hole of its own making since 2003.

As a rookie quarterback. With no-name receivers. And few, if any, disciples on the offensive line who can pass-protect for more than two Mississippi's.

Just Win Baby. As if it were that easy.

"That's all I care about -- the Raiders winning," Carr said.

You recognize that faint whiff of hope in the air, Raiders fans? That sneaky suspicion things are finally going to be different after three Lombardi Trophy-free decades.

A word of caution for those thinking the world will instantly shine because your team has finally drafted a quarterback of the future.

Remember the time your team went and drafted the next Kenny Stabler? Only, he turned out to be Marc Wilson, a living-breathing ode to mediocre play.

Your Raiders went and rested their hope in the next Jim Plunkett. He turned out to be Todd Marinovich, and all the Marijuana-vich jokes he inspired.

You swore JaMarcus Russell was the answer to all your problems. What was he going to do, sentence them to death by sitting on them with his 300-pound frame?

You let Andrew Walter give you a glimmer of hope, and he turned out to be something even scarier than Marinovich and Russell combined: a future candidate for Congress.

So yeah, the Raiders have been down Hope's road before. All they've got to show for it is 11 straight non-winning seasons, 17 starting quarterbacks (yes, Kyle Boller counts) and six fired head coaches.

Oakland is the only place on football's green earth where JaMarcus Russell can beget Bruce Gradkowski, can beget Charlie Frye, in the span of a single season.

Can Derek Carr be the one player who saves their day once and for all?

Absolutely not.

Because, the Raiders problem isn't the starting quarterback. It's the other 23 starters sharing space on the same field. It's been this way ever since Rich Gannon called it a day.

Remember how you booed Josh McCown off the field? Look at how he succeeded in Chicago as a backup, and watch him start today for Tampa Bay.

Couldn't get rid of Carson Palmer fast enough? You should have seen him lead the ever-average Arizona Cardinals to 10 wins last season.

Oakland dumped Kerry Collins for not being Rich Gannon enough. All Collins did was go to Tennessee and lead the Titans to a 13-3 season three years later.

Everyone thought Matt Flynn was a stretch. ... OK, you nailed that one, but still. The Raiders have started quality quarterbacks. They lost 10s and 11s of games a season, anyway.

What everyone has to understand is that Carr is an NFL rookie with a questionable supporting cast. Just ask his big brother David Carr how well that worked out for him as a Houston Texans rookie (see sacks record, NFL).

The Raiders aren't one player away from not being the Raiders anymore. This isn't some 7-9 team looking for that last piece to the puzzle. Oakland may have got lousy overnight at Super Bowl XXXVII (that's Roman numeral for Tampa Bay 48, Oakland 21), but don't think the Raiders will get great overnight.

Carr makes the Raiders better. He gives the Raiders hope for the first time since they thought Lane Kiffin and JaMarcus Russell were the appropriate responses to a 2-14 season.

Just don't expect him to carry this team to the top of Mt. Davis all by himself. Some miracles take more than a season.

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