ALAMEDA –- The Raiders offense is struggling to push the football downfield. They have just 18 plays of 20 yards or more, with just one on the ground.
The NFL average is 35.
Derek Carr is averaging 5.6 yards per pass attempt, which would set a franchise low over 16 games. Don’t put that all on the quarterback.
Raiders receivers, who generally aren’t fleet of foot, need to get better and quicker separation. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson says he must scheme ways to help them do so.
It takes a collective effort that must be made.
“How do we convince Derek, at times, to make certain throws? There has to be a trust factor,” Olson said. “… A lot of times in the NFL, receivers are open when they (don’t seem open). You need to have that trust factor, knowing that wide receiver that will go up and make that ball in a tightly-contested environment. That is man coverage in the NFL. We’re seeing a lot of man coverage, so there is not a lot of separation. When there is not a lot of separation, there has to be a huge trust factor there between the quarterback and his receiving corps.”
It’s been there before. Look back to the first game against the San Diego Chargers. The Raiders hit on several big plays, including a 77-yard touchdown strike from Carr to Andre Holmes to start the game.
Carr talks a lot about receiver trust, but it’s ultimately earned with reliability over time. Each receiver has had poor moments from drops to fumbles to missing checks at the line of scrimmage.
“We’re trusting each other instead of just saying, ah I don’t think he’s going to do it and then something bad happens,” Carr said. “I think that I feel that way with all the guys.”
Carr also understands that he’s a work in progress.
The separation required for a college receiver to be open is considered a blown coverage in the NFL. That takes some mental adjustment.
He’s also being walking a fine line between solid execution and trying to do too much. That’s a particularly difficult balance with a non-existent running game that makes the Raiders increasingly reliant on Carr’s production.
The Raiders want efficient and explosive plays, and believe Carr can make any throw asked of him.
“We’re not really concerned about Derek taking risks,” Sparano said. “In other words, we’ve never tried to squash his ability to throw the ball down the field or to do those types of things. .... We want to be aggressive with the football
“I don’t think there’s any fear there of Derek throwing the ball down the field at all. We know that is something that we have to do a better job of.”