Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is being compared to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers an awful lot.
Just do a search for “Derek Carr” and you’ll see all kinds of stories about how he’s like Aaron Rodgers. Hell, James Jones, whose played with both guys, compared Carr to Rodgers just last year.
“He’s really calm, really cool in the pocket,” Jones said of Carr. “He acts like he’s been there before. I’ve been calling him mini A-Rod since he got here.”
It’s just the type of shit that the unoriginal hacks in the media lap up.
Carr has heard it and he doesn’t think much it.
“I’m honored that he would say something like that,” Carr said on Wednesday. “Obviously, Aaron is so accomplished – MVP, Super Bowls, all those kinds of things, and I haven’t done anything near that. I don’t compare myself to him at all. He’s one of, if not the best, quarterback in our game. He has obviously one of the best arms we’ve ever seen in this league, and so I’m honored that James would say something like that, but Aaron has done far more than I have so far.”
We get it.
Carr is poised in the pocket, can make all the throws and is careful with the football. That’s the basis for the comparison.
But what’s the reality?
Well, we figured we’d debunk these comparisons as nonsense pretty quickly, but they may not be that far off after all.
Let’s consider both guys’ first two seasons as a starter. Granted, Carr was thrust into the role as a rookie, while Rodgers sat behind Brett Favre for three years. That, along with the fact that Carr wasn’t a turnover machine like most rookie QBs, gives him a great deal of legitimacy.
- Year 1: 4,038 yards, 28 TDs, 13 INTs, 63.6 completion percentage, 93.8 rating
- Year 2: 4,434 yards, 30 TDs, 7 INTs, 64.7 completion percentage, 103.2 rating
- Year 1: 3,270 yards, 21 TDs, 12 INTs, 58.1 completion percentage, 76.6 rating
- Year 2 (13 games): 3,313 yards, 28 TDs, 9 INTs, 62.2 completion percentage, 96.5 rating
Rodgers was certainly better in his first two years as a starter. He was much more prolific from a yardage standpoint, but only slightly better everywhere else, particularly in year two.
Carr will surpass Rodgers’ year two touchdown total and will likely have a very similar completion percentage.
He also has two intangibles in his favor.
First, he started year one. Who can say how good or bad Rodgers would have been in his first year as a starter if he hadn’t apprenticed under Favre for three seasons.
Second, you could justifiably argue Carr didn’t have nearly the level of offensive talent to work with that Rodgers did. Carr’s top receiver in year one was James Jones. This year, it’s rookie Amari Cooper. Rodgers began his career as a starter with a stable of receivers that featured Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jones and Jordy Nelson. He also had running back Ryan Grant.
Those things considered, is it plausible that Carr is not only comparable to Rodgers, but has the potential to be better than him?
We’re not going to make that argument, but the evidence would suggest that it is indeed plausible.
Here’s one other thing for you to chew on.
These two guys have an eerily similar stat line this season.
Carr: 3,313 yards, 28 TDs, 9 INTs, 62.2 completion percentage, 96.5 rating
Rodgers: 3,175 yards, 28 TDs, 5 INTs, 61.2 completion percentage, 97.5 rating
The argument could also be made that Carr is having a better 2015 than Rodgers. We would probably buy it.
But only because Rodgers is having his worst season as a pro.
We’ll see where these guys are in a couple years, but at the moment they’re trending in opposite directions. If that continues, Carr won’t just be compared to Rodgers. He’ll be better than Rodgers.