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Not Silver and Black Enough: Derek Carr’s Locker Room Dilemma

If you thought criticisms of Russell Wilson were ridiculous, you haven’t heard anything yet

Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders scrambles against outside linebacker K.J. Wright of the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle, Washington on November 2nd, 2014.

Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders scrambles against the Seattle Seahawks on November 2nd, 2014.

Otto Greule Jr/Getty

Last week, Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report made waves by suggesting that some players in the Seahawks locker room do not think that quarterback Russell Wilson is “black enough.” That he was too close to ownership and that he’s too “well spoken.”

This is Freeman’s opinion, mind you, and though he says it’s a theory that’s “backed up by several interviews with Seahawks players,” not surprisingly, none of them wanted to go on the record (his teammate, Richard Sherman, called the story “made up.”) But that didn’t stop him from plowing ahead with his column, and it’s not going to stop me, either.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to question a player’s “blackness;” instead, I’m going to tackle some equally ridiculous issues – the ones that are being ignored and overlooked by fans, players, teams and the media (presumably because they’ve got better things to do). It’s gone on far too long to keep letting these transgressions slide. I’m onto these guys, so bring it on.

Peyton Manning: Not Horse Enough
This week, Manning trotted into Foxboro for his XVIth battle with Tom Brady, and as is often the case with these things, he lost by more than a nose. Manning was a frontrunner for NFL MVP going into the game, but after a 43-21 throttling – and two Manning picks – it’s Brady who leads as we head into the backstretch of the season.

The truth is that after two-and-a-half years in Denver, it’s fair to question Manning’s “horseness.” Not only has he lost his last four regular-season meetings with Brady, but he got stampeded in Super Bowl XLVIII. And unlike Broncos icon – and current GM – John Elway, he doesn’t look remotely equine. Should Manning be advertising for Farmer John instead of Papa John? Bring on the neigh-sayers.

Trent Richardson: Not Workhorse Enough
Richardson could be seen as a “workhorse back” for Manning’s old team, the Colts, but perhaps only in the sense that he does work (sometimes) and technically, like 20 percent of his body is his back. But where did all the “running” go?

A bum hamstring relegated him to emergency back status last week, and Richardson watched from the sideline as his team fell 51-34 to the Steelers. Maybe Richardson couldn’t have done anything to stop Ben Roethlisberger’s aerial assault (six TD passes) though you could argue at this point, he’d be more valuable to Indy as a defensive back.

He wasn’t really used much on Monday night against the Giants. Even with a lead, the Colts threw it 30 times in the first half compared to five total runs, just two of those going to Richardson. Even though Indy dominated the entire game, they remained heavy on the pass and entrusted Richardson with just seven carries. Hardly the stat line of a “workhorse” back.

Since Colts GM Ryan Grigson sent the Browns a first round pick for Richardson, he’s rushed for 816 yards in 21 games, averaging 3.16 yards per carry. Including playoffs, he has gone 31 straight games without rushing for 100 yards. Perhaps Richardson should try a new position. Maybe downward-facing dog?

Derek Carr: Not Silver and Black Enough
I thought that Oakland was paying Matt Schaub $10 million this season so that they could save their rookie QB from having to fight a battle he literally can’t win, but Carr’s baptism by fire has gone “Full Raiders” after they dropped to 0-8 following Sunday’s 30-24 loss to the Seahawks.

It was their 14th loss in a row dating back to last season. Things have been so bad that announcer Rich Gannon went so far as to say that new coach Tony Sparano has his team showing “improvement” during his 0-4 tenure at the helm.

Carr threw two interceptions to a defense that had just three picks all year coming into the game, but he did come up with a couple of second-half touchdown drives to make it more interesting than it should have been. Given his surroundings, Carr hasn’t played all that bad this season, and considering Oakland’s strong tradition of being absolutely terrible, that means he’s not truly representing the Silver and Black like we’ve come to know them.

Get Schaub in there for that.

Robert Griffin III: Not Offensive Enough
As an estimated 5,000 protesters gathered outside of TCF Bank Stadium in Minnesota, folks inside watched the Washington Football Team blow a fourth-quarter lead in a 29-26 loss to the Vikings. But for Griffin, it was an opportunity to remind fans that he was the Rookie of the Year not too long ago.

In his first game back since an ugly ankle injury, RG III was 18-of-28 for 251 yards, one touchdown and one interception, giving him two fairly good starts this season. Unfortunately, we were also reminded of the fact that he simply cannot run anymore. Griffin was averaging eight rush attempts per game as a rookie before tearing up his knee in a playoff loss to Seattle.

He has 12 carries this season, and they’ve barely gone anywhere; he’s averaging just four yards per carry and it’s clear that when he moves, he does so with the caution of a cat who’s afraid that the red beam of a laser pointer might bite back.

Despite all that – and some “amatuerish” reports (Jay Gruden’s words) that Griffin was losing his teammates’ confidence – it would seem that not everybody is quick to jump on the bandwagon of Colt McCoy. But if the former (?) quarterback of the future can’t get his act together soon, Washington may have to start paying attention to the controversy happening inside the stadium.

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