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ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Rams have a ferocious defensive front, with pass rushers across the line. They have 21 sacks in the last six games, after recording just one in the first five.
They’re loaded with talent, from Robert Quinn to Michael Brockers to rookie tackle Aaron Donald. The Rams were on a roll without end Chris Long – yup, that’s Howie Long’s son – who was activated Saturday off short-term injured reserve.
Pressure will be coming, often from a four-man rush. Raiders rookie quarterback is acutely aware of that fact heading into Sunday’s game at St. Louis.
“They are all great players,” Carr said. “I could name them all and tell you what they’re all great at. It’s pretty much everything. They’re very talented.”
The Raiders offensive line has done a solid job in pass protection. Carr’s been sacked just 12 times this season, a solid effort aided by the rookie’s mobility and quick release. While the line, tight ends and running backs, must execute assignments well, Carr must made proper reads and checks to put his protectors in position to succeed.
“It is important that he makes the right protection calls, which is so key in his development at this point in his career,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “He goes over those things every week, and he can point to things that let you know that he’s improving in that area.
“(Rams defensive coordinator) Greg Williams has tremendous schemes and his defenses pose some unique challenges. Derek has put in extra time this week and will do so right up to the game to ensure he’s ready for the challenge.”
Olson can aid this effort with short passes, screens and delayed runs that work against defensive pressure. Carr says a good running game “can be your best friend,” and it would certainly keep the Rams from attacking with reckless abandon.
That said, the Raiders will try to throw downfield on a pass defense ranked No. 21 overall and has just seven interceptions. Pressure helps on the secondary, and the Rams are certainly active up front. Per Pro Football Focus, they have 36 quarterback hits and 114 hurries outside their sack total.
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The Raiders understand the Rams are good enough to win some one-on-one battles. Carr’s key: No freebies. That means they have to play smart.
“You want to be perfect on the calls because you don’t want to give these guys any kind of chance to have an open shot or anything like that,” Carr said. “You just do your best and you go out there as a team and make plays.”