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Saints QB Derek Carr doesn't think he gave Raiders his 'best' in final season: 'That drove me crazy'

Derek Carr's nine-year run with the Raiders came to an unceremonious end in 2022 when he was benched for the team's final two games and then released in February.

Now suiting up as QB1 for the New Orleans Saints, the four-time Pro Bowler who once claimed he would play nowhere else but the Silver and Black feels he failed to do all he could for Las Vegas.

"They just didn't get my best and that drove me crazy at the end of the year because I felt so spread out in so many different ways," Carr said this week, per the Associated Press. "I just didn't feel like myself and I feel bad for the (Raiders) coaches and players."

While Carr did play poorly in 2022, he was far from the only culprit in the Raiders' inability to live up to expectations following the hiring of head coach Josh McDaniels and trade for All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams.

Las Vegas' defense was among the worst in the league, ranked 26th in scoring and 28th in yards allowed. The team as a whole showed startling lapses and consistently choked away leads, a trend that started with a Week 2 loss to the Cardinals, when the Raiders gave up 22 unanswered points between the fourth quarter and overtime after leading, 23-7. The club also surrendered a victory to Jeff Saturday in his first game as Colts interim head coach, his lone win in eight contests.

Carr does bear some responsibility, though. He completed just 60.8% of his passes, down from his 68.7% over the previous four years and his worst output since his rookie year. He also tied a career high in interceptions with 14.

Those are numbers Carr is looking to correct in his transition from Vegas to The Big Easy.

To do so, he said he's keeping his focus on football and the Saints "simple" while adjusting to a fourth different head coach in three seasons -- although he did play under Dennis Allen for four weeks as a rookie in 2014.

"I've tried my best to get back to that," Carr said. "Hopefully it leads to some success. It's going to be a great lesson for me to learn to help some guys down the road when they go through a coaching change or a shift in whatever they're doing."

The transition will be made easier by New Orleans' stout defense. The unit has ranked no worse than ninth in points or yards allowed for three years running.

And while he won't have his good friend Adams to connect with, Carr's new offense is by no means devoid of weapons. Beyond running backs Alvin Kamara and Jamaal Williams, wide receiver Chris Olave looked like the real deal as a rookie with a 1,000-yard receiving season, and tight end Foster Moreau should provide a trusty security blanket after following his QB from Vegas.

Allen told reporters that he talked with Carr during the free-agency process about the QB not having the season he wanted in 2022, but he is impressed with how the 32-year-old has assimilated so far this offseason.

"All I can say is that when I watch him now, there's a clear focus on being the best version of himself for this football team," the coach said.

Outcasts from the Raiders bound together once again with the Saints, Allen and Carr will both have to rise to their best to return New Orleans to playoff contention.

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