Saints’ QB Derek Carr Earns Surprising Praise For 2024

Derek Carr, Saints
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints made a big splash during the 2023 NFL offseason, signing veteran quarterback Derek Carr. Expectations quickly rose as many people picked them to win the NFC South.

Unfortunately, they fell short of those expectations. The Saints went 9-8, losing the division title on a tiebreaker to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Some of the blame for that shortcoming was placed on Derek Carr. People questioned whether the team made the right decision pursuing him as their starting quarterback and have put him on notice heading into 2024.

However, Conor Orr of Sports Illustrated has opted to go in the other direction. He doesn’t think Derek Carr is overrated; he is on the opposite end of the spectrum and believes he is actually underrated.

In a recent piece, he shared his opinion on who the underrated player on every team in the NFC is. For the Saints, he selected Derek Carr, which he knows will draw some negative reactions from people.

“This will perhaps be my most controversial take here. I did point out some of Carr’s issues last season, including what seemed like a disinterest in playing defense after a pick and some deflections at the podium. 

But I do wonder how much of that was Carr feeling unseen by the offense. I know opinions on Carr across the league are scattered, but it’s important to note that a down year for Carr still means 25 touchdowns and eight interceptions (also that there seems to be a growing body of evidence that a Sean Payton offense isn’t world-beating without Drew Brees; imagine that),” Orr wrote.

After a disappointing 2022 with the Las Vegas Raiders, Derek Carr did bounce back with the Saints. He completed 68.4 percent of his passes for 3,878 yards.

There are plenty of quarterbacks in the NFL whose best seasons would be what Derek Carr produced in 2023. Yet, in the opinion of some analysts, it was a disappointing campaign.

Regardless of which side of the coin you fall on, Orr believes that an even bigger season could be on the horizon for the veteran. His comfortability in the offense that fits him better should yield positive results.

“For the first time in his career, Carr is now in a Shanahan-style system, a scheme that builds in more time for him to see the field with more boot action that will turbocharge Alvin Kamara (possibly). Is it wild to think of Carr as, like, the 10th best QB in the league this season?”

If Derek Carr thrives in the fashion Orr believes he can, the Saints are going to win plenty of football games in 2024. The NFC South got a little more competitive with the Atlanta Falcons signing Kirk Cousins, but there is no reason New Orleans can’t come out on top this season.

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