It’s not rocket science—if you pressure the quarterback, he will not play well. Unless of course he’s Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady. Thankfully, neither of those guys play on the Oakland Raiders...
...as of the time of this posting. But who knows? Maybe the Raiders can get a deal done before game time. After they traded away Khalil Mack for the equivalent of mystery boxes, you cannot rule out any possibility.
I mean......My God, man. Khalil Mack?
Anyway, Derek Carr.
Derek Carr is good
The 2017 Raiders kind of sucked, but let me assure you Derek Carr did not. Last season was a step down from 2016, but his individual production was solid at-worst. Behind a poor offensive line and a receiving corps that would sometimes forget how to catch, he still completed 62 percent of his passes and threw for 3,496 (441 yards less than 2016) with 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
He has tremendous power in his throwing arm, so much so his throwing motion basically looks like he’s flicking the ball out of his hand.
That throw went for a 63-yard gain.
That kind of action allows an offense to be bold should the need arise, and Carr has been known to provide a clutch throw when his team needed it. During the 2017 season, Carr had the best passer rating in the league during the fourth quarter and overtime (122.0).
He’s also been known to be accurate.
Carr worked well with boot-leg throws and finding his receivers on seam routes. Oakland also found a lot of success on double move routes. WR Amari Cooper caught just 50 percent of his targets in 2017. But he was very successful on seam routes and the double-move. When Carr goes deep, he’s most often going to Cooper.
Put pressure on him (Super smart point, here)
Carr faced two of the top four pass-rushing defenses last year (Philadelphia and Washington). In each of those games, Carr passed for 140 yards or less, completed less than 53 percent of his passes and threw a pair of interceptions with one touchdown.
The Raiders offensive line—while only allowing 24 sacks last season—was not good. Against good pass-rushing teams, the line struggled mightily and Carr paid the price.
Those two plays are back-to-back.
Washington had the best defensive performance against Carr as they managed to keep the pressure on without sacrificing much coverage.
With a man on each receiver, Washington sent a defensive back on the blitz and Carr tried to get it out quickly. But his throw was aimed at the receiver’s inside shoulder, and landed in the corner’s arms for the interception.
Washington inflicted the most pressure on Carr, sacking him four times compared to Philadelphia’s one. What made Washington’s performance more impressive is they also shut down the running game. Marshawn Lynch rushed for just 18 yards (on six carries) against Washington while racking up 95 yards on Philly.
In both games, Oakland’s offense only scored 10 points.
The Los Angeles Rams have a star-studded defensive line, and they can get their money’s worth against Carr.
The Raiders have nearly their entire offensive line back in 2018, by the way.
It’s important to note this is not the 2017 Raiders offense
The Raiders scoring offense dropped from No. 7 in 2016 to No. 23 in 2017. There were many variables that caused that decline. But it’s not safe to assume any resemblance of the 2017 Raider team will show up in Monday night’s game.
This will be the first time the Raiders open up the playbook under Jon Gruden, a former Hooters spokesman who now coaches football. Former Rams quarterbacks coach Greg Olson is now Oakland’s OC, but Gruden will be calling the offense. It’s anyone’s guess what his playbook will include. Like their trading habits, the Raiders are unpredictable.