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Derek Carr to Gruden: Let's fix my problems, win titles

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For all the talk about Jon Gruden's hiring being "a big f-ing deal" in Oakland and "a bunch of hungry dogs" awaiting his arrival this offseason, if the Raiders' new head man can't get Derek Carr playing at the MVP level he performed at in 2016, all of it might not matter.

Even though the Raiders' defense was far spottier in 2017 than it was a season ago, Oakland's 6-10 record can largely be placed on Carr's regression from an MVP-caliber 2016 season.

Carr threw for 441 fewer passing yards, six fewer passing touchdowns and seven more interceptions this year compared to last. His last-minute fumble against the Dallas Cowboys directly cost the Raiders a win, and his two-interception, 15-of-29 passing performance against the Philadelphia Eagles a week later didn't help Oakland's win-loss record, either.

But Carr, despite being named a Pro Bowl alternate this week, understands his shortcomings. He knows there's a need for growth. And even though Gruden can be known to be demanding of his quarterbacks, Carr is ready for the tough love to lead to results.

"I want him to be tough on me," the quarterback told NBC Sports Bay Area's Scott Bair on Monday. "For anyone who thinks I want him to be a different way has no clue about me or how I play football or how I prepare to play this game. I don't need to tell stories about how I prepare or manage myself.

"[Jon] and I are going to get along great. I hope that he demands of me. I hope he's hard on me. I don't need to know he loves me. He has already told me that about 20 times. I appreciate that and we'll be friends forever, but I know he'll be demanding and tell me what I need to do. Let's go fix problems that I have and let's do what I need to do to win championships. Hopefully that will give people some insight and hopefully that's the story that gets out, because that's the truth."

With Carr just beginning to play on his new five-year deal, Gruden signing on for 10 years and new offensive coordinator Greg Olson landing a four-year agreement, it's clear all parties want this relationship to work out. Because if Gruden can't turn Carr back into one of the league's best QBs, Oakland's road to becoming a perennial contender in Las Vegas could be far rockier than most in the Silver and Black would like.

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