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Hondo Carpenter | Las Vegas Raiders Insider

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January 2, 2023 6:11 am

Hondo Carpenter | Las Vegas Raiders Insider

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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January 2, 2023 6:11 am

Raiders Insider Hondo Carpenter joins the show to talk about a very eventful week in the desert.

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Right now we want to spend some time in Las Vegas and get to the bottom of all of these changes and what they mean moving forward. We're pleased to welcome Hondo Carpenter, who covers the Raiders for Fan Nation and Sports Illustrated. You're a writer, you use words for a living. So what are a few words that you would use to describe this past week, Hondo? They've made him a man well beyond wealthy.

It's generational wealth. The Raiders have given him lots of opportunities. He's performed for them when injured. They've always been faithful to him, but it was a time you could see the break coming and after the Pittsburgh game. That's why I was the first to report about the change coming. On Monday, I got kicked off early on Monday morning that they were meeting to discuss not playing Derek in the final two games, since they even though it wasn't technically eliminated, but pretty much eliminated from the playoffs.

Because if he got injured, his contract was guaranteed for next year and they were going to move on. So I asked Josh about it on Monday. He said yes, it was being discussed and was a possibility. And then Wednesday he confirmed our report.

Why? Why are the Raiders and Josh McDaniels, the first year head coach, moving on from Derek Carr? Josh and Dave Ziegler, the GM, had reached out to Derek before they even took the job.

They weren't interested in coming here if Derek Carr wasn't the quarterback. They believed in him. They like him. They admire him. There's a lot of salacious reports because we live in a clickbait society where people are trying to make themselves what they're not and saying that they didn't like each other.

Absolutely not true. They like Derek. They respected him as a man.

They like his presence in the locker room. Derek's a fine human being, but he just did not fit the system that they're trying to run. They didn't try to make him a scapegoat. Their decision not to play in the last two games was because if he got injured, his entire contract was guaranteed and they've already made the decision to move on. So he wasn't a scapegoat. They don't put all of the blame on Derek for this season. That wouldn't be fair.

That's not what they do. But it was time to move on. He didn't fit where they were going in the future. So Derek's going to have that opportunity to go play somewhere else and he will. And the Raiders are going to move on to what I think is going to be a pretty fascinating offseason. We know he can throw the ball.

He's got a big arm. There are turnovers for sure. But the numbers and the production have been there despite the fact that there's been a revolving door at coach and coordinator. There's been obviously a lot of different weapons around him on and off the field. So what about Derek wasn't right for what they want to do?

I'm going to give you a couple of examples. Now let me just say this. I understand why they did it, but I can understand people saying why would they move on from Derek. They understood there is a very short list of players better than Derek.

They're well aware of that. This wasn't because they think Derek stinks. This just because they think they can upgrade to someone better than him. There were a lot of throws that were missed. The accuracy was not there. There were some sacks that were taken where they really wish they could have seen him do some different things with his legs like we saw with Jared Stidham on Sunday with the Raiders taking on the 49ers. There were again, like I mentioned, not only missed passes, but some bad sacks that they felt that he'd take and there was just some reads that they felt he had missed. Derek's got the huge arm. That's why I think Derek next year is going to be in a place, probably in Indianapolis, a great team where it's not going to be just the Derek Carr show.

Derek has been the only stable factor for nine years in what has been an incredibly unstable franchise. Hondo Carpenter is with us from Las Vegas following what was an overtime loss to the San Francisco 49ers officially eliminated from playoff contention, but as he points out the end of an era for this franchise as they're moving on from Derek Carr. He covers the Raiders for Sports Illustrated and Fan Nation.

It's after hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio. What did you see with Jared Stidham then in his first career start? Well, a couple of interesting things about him.

He's very mobile. He's a guy that's not afraid to throw the 50-50 ball to Devontae Adams. His teammates love him.

They rallied behind him and that doesn't mean that they didn't love Derek. But I'm going to tell you the thing that stood out to me, Amy, and this is why I love your show. I've listened to you many times and you asked the great questions. Raider Nation's already been asking me on Twitter because of my post-game article I talked about, he's not going to be the starter next year. And we asked Josh McDaniels after the game, if he keeps playing like this is he going to get a shot to be your starter next year? And he didn't come out and say no, but one thing I respect about Josh McDaniels is he's not going to lie to us.

And his answer was very clear. They know where they're going. They're going to go in a different direction. I expect Jarrett to be the backup, but I expect that they're going to bring in a much bigger name who's going to fill that role because they know they're not going...

I was the one to break this story. Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler are not going to get a third year if year two is as disappointing as year one. And Mark Davis, the owner, personally told me when he fired Rich Versace that this was not a rebuild. They were a 10 win team.

They were the fourth seed in the AFC in the playoffs. And he said, we're not rebuilding. I expect to go farther.

It's why I'm making this move. Mark Davis has had in his time as owner, two coaches take him to the NFL playoffs and they both have one thing in common. He fired them. And so there's a lot of pressure on Mark Davis to bring a winner. And he's the one that has said this wasn't a rebuild. And so it's going to be fascinating watching because there's not a lot of guys better than Derek Carr. Who do they get to fill that role?

Right. Hondo Carpenter is with us from Vegas, where I think you could say this has been one kind of a dramatic week for the Raiders as they benched Derek Carr. Jarrett Stidham gets these final two starts of the year.

And even though the expectations may have been 10 wins by the owner, the best they can do is seven. We're glad to have him with us for the first time here on CBS Sports Radio. Watching Jarrett today, I was thinking, man, he might benefit from having a veteran voice in the experience of a Derek Carr in his headset or kind of calming him down. And Derek has always been a team first guy. Why do you think they sent him home for these last couple of weeks?

I know exactly why. And it had nothing to do with character. He's talked to Jarrett.

He still is the ultimate team guy. It was because his contract for nearly $40 million next year is completely guaranteed if he gets injured. And so they didn't want him around the facility jogging and what happens if he rips a hamstring, if he's lifting weights and pops a quad or whatever. And so for them protecting themselves, it was Derek, listen, we're not mad at you, we're not angry at you, we're not making you a scapegoat.

It's a business decision, but we would prefer if you would just stay home. And he understood. You know, there were people again salaciously saying Derek quit on the team. Absolutely untrue.

That's ridiculous. If you know Derek Carr, you know that he would never do that. But I didn't understand the use of the word distraction, Hondo, because there's no way that Derek Carr would ever be that either.

He always puts the team ahead of himself. Well, I think that the distraction thing was more of they didn't want to send a mixed message to a fan base. They didn't want to send a mixed message to a Jared Statham that, hey, if you struggle, you know, Derek's right behind you, we can bring them back in. And because they're moving on, let's just set him over on the shelf, let him go stay in his beautiful home and let him continue to get paid. We're not mad at him, but let's do this to just be able to send the clear message.

We're moving on. If there's one thing that Josh McDaniels has learned from Bill Belichick, it's that you eliminate all the distractions that you can. And so if Derek's in the building, then every time the reporters go in the locker room, you know somebody's going to try to talk to them. Are players going to have an issue going up and putting their arm around Jared Statham? Are they going to feel, because it's human emotion, does Derek think we're being disloyal to them? I understand exactly why.

Now, I can tell you, I've been doing this for years, Amy, and I have not been afraid to call out things when I thought that they were wrong. And you can argue whether or not the Raiders made the right decision moving on from Derek Carr, but I don't think anything they've done has been disrespectful to Derek. You look around, Hondo, they have a ton of great weapons to surround a quarterback, like a Josh Jacobs who's having a career year. Certainly Devontae Adams, who showed up there because he always wanted to be a Raider, but also because of his relationship with Derek.

You think about Darren Waller, healthy again, and there are others. So in addition to quarterback then, what else would they need or what else do they need to address in this upcoming offseason? Well, if their defense was arrested for being an NFL caliber defense, there would not be enough evidence to convict them. I mean, they continue to lose double digit leads, and they have a defense that's just porous. Now, in their defense, they were missing five starters today against a very good San Francisco team, but they still gave up 37 points in loss.

I don't think that if those five starters are back, sure, I think they would have had a chance to win, but everybody's down starters right now. I have written that I expect there to be as many as seven new starters next year on defense. Their defensive backfield is terrible. Their defensive backfield coaching has been terrible. Their interior defensive line has not been good. They have great linebackers, but they've had a problem with guys staying healthy.

And as you know, the best ability is availability, so they've got to fix the defense. Anyone that thinks that getting rid of Derek Carr fixes the Raiders either doesn't know football or hasn't watched any games, that defense is horrible. It has been for a good portion of the time when Derek Carr's been the quarterback. Hondo Carpenter is with us from Fan Nation and Sports Illustrated covering the Raiders and all of their drama here in this first year under Josh McDaniels.

It's after our CBS Sports Radio. What are your impressions of how he has established his system or really his first year as a head coach again? First of all, I have a lot of respect for Josh McDaniels.

I don't want to monopolize your show, but I'm going to explain why. I knew Josh when he was a GA when I covered Michigan State. Then he goes on and his father is a legend in Ohio. When Josh went to the Denver Broncos, you may remember he had early success. I think he started 5-1.

Like all of us, and I have in my life when I was young, had early success. If you don't balance that, you get an ego. He did. Now, if you knew his parents, an ego is nowhere even part of the McDaniels culture. He changed. He got fired and he got humbled.

When he did, he looked in the mirror and he really looked at himself. He looked at his dad and realized, I'm not Bill Belichick. I admire Bill. I respect Bill. He's the greatest of all time in the NFL coaching. But I'm not him. I'm not belligerent.

I'm not arrogant. He'd become that with that success. He got humbled. He had many chances to go to places. He could have picked his team to go coach in the NFL. But he decided that he liked the Raiders. He liked the character of Derek Carr. He liked what he saw from Derek Carr on film. That's why he came here. When he noticed, listen, this is not working with Derek in my scheme, he didn't do anything to disrespect Derek.

He came out and admitted, you know what, this is a decision that we made. And so with Josh McDaniels, this has not been the season that he hoped for and he won't get a third if it's like this next year. But I've admired how he's handled the locker room. There have been a lot of reports around the country from people that aren't in that locker room every day like I am that he's lost that locker room and that's completely not true. Completely false. And I can tell you there were even reports on Sunday of how the majority of the locker room was so angry with Josh McDaniels.

Absolutely, unequivocally not true. I'm in there talking to those players on and off the record. I know what they're thinking because they trust me.

They communicate with me. And you saw a team tonight that came out missing five starters, loses 37-34 in overtime. There wasn't any quit in that team. Are there guys on that team that absolutely love Derek Carr and consider him one of their best friends?

Absolutely. But those guys also watched film. They also watched it where things didn't fit. And so they respected Josh the way he did it. I've covered teams where a guy gets fired and people go in and try to trash him. Josh McDaniels made it clear that we made a change. But in talking to his team, let everybody know Derek's one of the finest people he's ever been around. And he respects them and honors them. So even though he had to make a tough decision, he's earned a lot of respect from his guys. They trust him.

I can tell you this, Amy. They've not turned on him. There's things that maybe they didn't understand.

Some of the new Raider way, which is some Patriot things, which hasn't been the way things were done here. But unlike in Denver, he stopped. He's taught. He's explained. He's leaned on his captains. He's listened to his captains when they come to him. And Josh McDaniels is back being who he was, which is really more like his dad than Bill Belichick. And that's not a slam on Bill.

It's just it doesn't fit his character. And I think that even though it's been a rough year, he's shown these guys a lot. And these men still believe in him and they want to play for him. And for that reason, if you were following Hondo on Twitter, you would see that he talked about the Raiders playing inspired football on Sunday, even though they are now officially eliminated from the playoffs. So there's a lot of questions that still have to be answered with one game left in the regular season and an offseason to come where they will search for a quarterback as well as rebuild that defense. You can find Hondo on Twitter at Hondo Carpenter. He's the publisher of Fan Nation, S.I.

's Las Vegas Raiders coverage. And it's good to connect with you for the first time on the new year. So happy new year to you. We look forward to talking again. I look forward to it, too. You have a great show, Amy, and you're a real shining light in our field of sports journalism. And you do a great job. Keep up the great work.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-02 08:41:26 / 2023-01-02 08:48:03 / 7

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