Derek Carr will Play through Back Injury in Week 6

derek-carr-injury-returnThe Oakland Raiders have struggled ever since starting quarterback Derek Carr suffered a fractured back. But the good news is that they’ll have Carr back for their Week 6 game.

The 26-year-old was a full participant at Friday’s practice, and he’s no longer on the injury report. This means that he’ll suit up against the Los Angeles Chargers after missing just one game.

This is all the more impressive when considering that initial injury reports had Carr missing anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks.

“He’ll be ready to play,” said Raiders coach Jack Del Rio. “I think it was smart to give him the week (off), which we did. Even though he was pushing for last week.

“He’s cleared to go and got the green light. Doctors and trainers all gave him the go. He had a full week of practice for the most part, so we’re ready to go.”

Carr left a game against the Denver Broncos on October 1 after being sacked. He then sat out against the Baltimore Ravens, and Oakland suffered their third straight defeat.

Whether Carr will be 100% or not is the question. He suffered a fractured transverse process in his back. And it seems that he’s rushing back from the injury.

But this is little surprise to his teammates because few are more passionate about the game than Carr. In fact, he apologized to his coach after suffering the injury.

“It was just my love for this team,” Carr said. “When I found out, I just told him, ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I won’t be 100 percent right now.’

“I felt bad because I care so much about this team and this organization that even though I had a broken back, I still felt bad that I couldn’t be out there to help because, I sat there for two games last year and had to watch knowing there’s nothing I could do to help.”

Carr’s Performance after Last Year’s Injury

This isn’t Carr’s first time dealing with a major injury. He broke the pinkie finger in his throwing hand last season and didn’t miss any games.

However, his season ended in Week 16 when he fractured his right fibula. Carr was forced to miss the season finale at Denver, along with a playoff loss against Houston the next week.

The Raiders are 2-9 when Carr has to sit out games. So obviously it’s a big benefit to have him back, especially if he can play close to 100%.

Comparing Carr to Tony Romo’s Injury

tony-romoOne good comparison for how Carr can play after his injury is former Dallas cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

In 2014, Romo fractured two transverse processes in his back. He missed one game, before returning the next week to throw for 246 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions against the Jacksonville jaguars.

The following week, Romo threw for 275 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions while playing against the New York Giants.

This isn’t to say that Carr’s experience will be exactly like Romo’s. Furthermore, it’s possible that his fractured back could be even worse than what Romo dealt with.

But then again, Carr suffered one fractured transverse while Romo had two. This means that Carr could potentially be even better off than Romo when he takes the field.

Chargers vs. Raiders Odds

We have the Raiders at -3.5 (-105) on our GTBets line this week. This seems like a good line even without Carr because Oakland is playing at home, and the Chargers are 1-4.

It seems even more plausible to think that the Raiders can cover -3.5 with their starter under center.

But the key issue will be how well Carr has recovered in his short injury layoff. If he plays like himself, then winning should be no problem.

The Raiders are off to a disappointing 2-3 start, and they desperately need a win to stay in the AFC West title hunt. They finished second to the Chiefs last year with a 12-4 record.

As for Carr, he’s played well in his three and a half games of action. He’s tallied 732 passing yards, 7 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and a 101.2 rating.

Is this the End of San Francisco’s Near-Dynasty?

jim-harbaugh-49ers-dynasty-overAs NFL teams go these days, one could say that the San Francisco 49ers have a near-dynasty over the past three years. One Super Bowl appearance and three NFC Conference Championship games is enough to make this case. And Niners fans can praise head coach Jim Harbaugh and quarterback Colin Kaepernick for making the last three years special. But as for now, well….it definitely appears that the mini-NFC dynasty is over.

Mathematically it’s not over and the Niners still have an outside chance at the postseason. However, this team is unlikely to make a serious playoff run with their 7-6 record – currently two games behind the Wild Card leaders and three behind NFC West leader Arizona.

The final nail in the coffin was a 24-13 loss to the lowly Oakland Raiders on Sunday. All San Francisco had to do to keep pace in the postseason race was beat a one-win team. And this seemed quite likely, given that the Raiders were dealt a demoralizing 52-0 loss by the St. Louis Rams the week before. However, their defense came alive to shut down Kaepernick (174 passing yards, 1 TD, 2 INT) and pull out the victory.

There are three games left in the season, but everybody is already pondering the Niners’ uncertain future. Most think that Harbaugh will coach his final three weeks in San Francisco, given that there are heavy rumors about his rift with management. The rumors also have him being traded to another team like the Raiders or simply being fired and landing at Michigan. Tough love for a guy who’s gone 36-11-1 and made three NFC championship game runs.

colin-kaepernickBut like any true coach, Harbaugh isn’t sitting around reading headlines or mapping out his future. “My priorities are, No. 1, winning football games,” Harbaugh told reporters. “No. 2 is the welfare of our players, coaches and staff. And last is what my personal, professional future is.”

Besides the uncertainly surrounding the coaching position, another problem is the clear regression of Kaepernick. Once thought to be the face of the franchise – and rightfully so – he’s thrown 16 touchdowns against 10 interceptions, way off his 21:8 split from last year. What’s more is that his QB rating has dropped from 91.6 to 85.1 over the past season. As for his legs, the weapons that make him feared throughout the NFL, the 27-year-old is averaging one yard less per carry compared to 2013 and hasn’t scored a single rushing TD.

Of course, these are just numbers. But what’s also bad is that one couldn’t tell much difference in experience between Kaepernick and Raiders rookie Derek Carr on Sunday. So if there’s a coaching search going on in San Francisco right now, it could be centered on somebody who can get the most out of Kaepernick moving forward.

But anything right now is pure speculation since the regular season isn’t even over. And who knows, maybe Harbaugh will be back with the Niners after his (likely) first non-playoff season. However, if we’re to believe the massive number of rumors, Harbaugh won’t be back and the franchise will be heading in a different direction next season.