The Oakland Raiders were in the midst of their best season since 2002. They were putting the finishing touches on their 12th win, they were eyeing a playoff bye and they were considered by many a legitimate threat to reach the Super Bowl.
But then Derek Carr broke his fibula in the fourth quarter of Oakland’s 33-25 home win over Indianapolis on Sunday. The MVP candidate is likely out for the season.
Jack Del Rio, however, isn’t going to let his players hang their heads.
“I think the approach will be just the opposite. I think he’s going to pretty much pretend nothing happened,” San Francisco Chronicle Raiders writer Vic Tafur said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “(He’ll say), ‘You know what? We’ve lost guys every other week of the season. Guys get hurt in this league. So it’s business as usual. We go on, we have a week to prepare, we have our game plan, we’ll execute and we’ll win.’ So I think he’s going to take the opposite approach and not really talk about this very much. Just kind of say, ‘Hey, it’s another week, let’s get to work and let’s win a game on Sunday.’”
That message sounds good, but is it realistic? Can Matt McGloin, who has attempted four passes this year, step in for Carr, who had 28 touchdowns to just six interceptions, and keep the Raiders playing at an elite level?
“I think it’s a good approach,” Tafur said. “Obviously players know. They know what happened. Guys were a little depressed after the game Saturday in the locker room, so they know what’s happened. But they all still have dreams. They all still think it’s going to be a special season.”
McGloin, a Penn State product, has played in just five games over the last three seasons. He has 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 12 games in his career.
“He’s not going to be a star making plays,” Tafur said. “But I think they ask him, ‘Don’t turn the ball over and we’ll do the rest.’”
Oakland closes the regular season at Denver (8-7) this Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET.