Raiders quarterback Derek Carr lofted a pass deep downfield to Amari Cooper, a high-arching heave far too easily picked. Green Bay’s Damarious Randall reached up and grabbed it during Thursday’s preseason game at Lambeau Field.
It was a pick that wouldn’t happen a month later. Carr wouldn’t have pulled the trigger in a game that really mattered.
“I tried to throw it up and give Amari a chance,” Carr said after the game. “This is the time to do it. I am risky, but at this time, a bit more risky.”
Carr is allowed to tinker in exhibition games, to try things out in game situations. He has done exactly that over two games, experimenting with ideas while working toward the regular season.
Carr hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass this preseason, or the last one for that matter, but who’s really keeping score? Nobody. It’s the preseason after all.
That license is extended this year, with Carr set as a starter working with the same receiving cast under the same system. There’s nothing to prove in games that don’t count. The ultimate goal is refining certain throws – they’ve mastered plenty of others – for use in the regular season.
That results in some questionable throws that have some fans screaming from the stands.
“Sometimes people are going to be mad at me for certain things in the preseason, you know?” Carr said with a laugh before Tuesday’s practice. “(Quarterbacks coach Todd) Downing always tells me, ‘It’s a great opportunity to see what you can get away with.’ It really is. I take that, I guess, really to heart and do it.”
That might produce some high-risk, possibly high-reward attempts during Saturday’s preseason game against Tennessee, when starters should play an extended stretch.
He did so several times in the exhibition opener at Arizona, taking deep shots even when down and distance may have suggested something else.
Carr got a deep ball intercepted against Green Bay that didn’t work out, but also found great sync on a perfect pass to Cooper between two defenders when they anticipated a route going further downfield.
“It’s things like the preseason that you can have those moments where it’s not a decision that’s going to hurt us, but it’s a decision like if it works, it’s going to be a great thing for us,” Carr said. “And, if we can continue to build on that, you know, can that help us? And that’s really all it is. I try not to do it too much, but obviously I will do it during the preseason. I’ll do it a couple times here and there.
“It’s a great opportunity and it’s a great time to do those things, because when you hit Week 1, you’re not going to try something new, you’re just going to do what you’re supposed to do.”