ALAMEDA – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has gotten a lot of love this week. Throwing for 650 yards and five touchdowns in consecutive victories can have that effect on the NFL’s fourth estate.
Even those knocking his rookie limitations have recognized improved decision-making, aggressiveness downfield and poise under pressure, which have helped showcase impressive physical skill. Carr clearly trusts the scheme and new weapons around him, which has made the Raiders offense entertaining.
Despite being 2-1 as a team and No. 8 among regular starting quarterbacks with a 102.4 passer rating, Carr’s believes he should be better.
“We’ve done some good things obviously, we have, but we have not met our standard,” Carr said. “Our standard is higher. We have so much to clean up, myself included. We’re happy, but not content. We don’t want to stay where we’re at, we’re not complacent with it. We have a lot more work to do, but it’s good for the start.”
Raiders coaches saw this new Carr coming. They spoke highly of Carr in public, and internally believed he would produce with an upgraded skill player set and a scheme tailored to his strengths. They were impressed by his willingness to work, even before this new staff was officially allowed to teach this offseason.
“He has a tremendous desire to really understand pressures and protections and that part of it,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “For a young player, he is advanced in his desire and his appreciate of those things. A lot of guys just want to know where the routes go and where can they throw the ball and how they can use their arm talent, but he’s really been a real student of the game in terms of wanting to understand protections and what the issues are and what are his answers.”
That has helped Carr play well under pressure, with a 100.5 passer rating under duress this season. He also plays well in the clutch. According to the Associated Press, Carr is 20-for-28 for 246 yards, 2 touchdowns, no picks and a 122 rating on third down. He has been efficient in the red zone as well.
“It comes down to decision making and accuracy for good quarterback play,” Del Rio said. “Those are two areas where he had been very solid. He makes good decisions and he is accurate passing the football. He typically gets the ball where he wants to get it. We just want to continue to grow that. As you come up against different matchups and different defenses that you face, just have a good understanding of where you need to go with the ball and where a good place is to put the ball in terms of placement. Then, work your mechanics so you can actually get that out and get that done.”
Raiders are certainly excited about the future of this offense with Carr, receiver Amari Cooper and running back Latavius Murray. The trio produced big numbers Sunday against Cleveland, with Murray and Cooper accounting for 60 percent of the Raiders’ total yards.
“It’s an exciting thing obviously for our team and our organization and all of that. Like we said, we set a standard of what we want to be, and we’re not even close yet. We have so much more to do, but we have the blueprint laid out for us. We’ve seen it work these last two weeks. We just have to continue.
“It sounds repetitive, but going out there on the practice field and making sure we’re pushing, pressing in to what’s next, is there something else more out there for us. And in this game there’s always something more. As long as we’re pushing and grinding out there on the practice field and in the film room, we’ll continue to grow.”