Derek Carr is getting better under pressure

Take a look at the numbers: The Raiders QB is showing improvement in his sophomore campaign.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Derek Carr is getting better under pressure


Last season Derek Carr’s statistics always looked healthy enough, but he was never able to match them with the kind of play that warranted high praise. Rookie quarterbacks are always going to struggle, at least in stretches, and all you really want to see from them is a marked improvement as the season wears on.

We saw that improvement from Teddy Bridgewater — who ended the 2014 season on a five-game streak that was among the best in the league — but not from Carr. While Bridgewater was looking like an assured pro down the stretch, Carr was making the same errors and playing the same as he had early in the season, and it was a large part of the reason he ended the year at No. 38 in our quarterback rankings. Only Blake Bortles was graded lower over the course of the season.

The good news for Oakland fans is that we’re now seeing that improvement in play we never found during his rookie season.

He is now our 13th-graded quarterback and actually grading above average for the first time in his career. His numbers have seen a significant jump across the board, with his completion percentage shooting up to 62.6 percent, his passer rating sitting now at 97.7 and his touchdown to interception ratio even healthier than a year ago, but perhaps the most interesting improvement comes in the stuff that’s harder to measure.

Carr looks much more assured of himself and able to deal with what NFL defenses are going to throw at him. When under pressure last season his passer rating fell to 57.0 and he threw half of the 12 interceptions he recorded on the year (in 33.8 percent of the snaps). When teams blitzed him he had a passer rating of 61.9 and a completion percentage of 47.2 as he simply couldn’t correctly identify where to go with the ball and hit it routinely.

This season when pressured his passer rating is 95.1 — barely lower than when he’s been kept clean. He hasn’t been blitzed much, but when he has his passer rating is 144.4 and he has thrown two touchdowns, completing 70 percent of his passes.

Right now Derek Carr is playing fairly well, and he’s delivering on the kind of improvement we saw from Teddy Bridgewater late last season. As long as that continues, the future looks bright in Oakland.

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN.

  • Marcus Johnson

    Carrs Improvement just shows how hard working he is..hes actually top ten in pass grade if you take out the run grade

    • Johnny Rotten

      Exactly. I was skeptical of Carr when I didn’t see any improvements in preseason. But he’s been real impressive so far in the regular season. (That’s all that counts.) He has some good young players around him they just need to eliminate the little mistakes like dropping easy passes. Those really hurt us bad against the Bears. If they can clean that up the offense will be in very good shape.

      • Marcus Johnson

        hes super legit. just the respect the bears gave him tells it all since they didnt blitz him all game and put everybody in coverage…that why it was so bad we couldn’t run because you can’t play 8 in the box anymore.

  • London Raider

    big regression against the Bears, late on throws, rolling into pressure, and still shows no touch, just bullets throws

    • michael preller

      uh, no. Wasn’t perfect against the Bears but he played well. The throws to Cooper for a TD and Roberts (should have been a TD) was a thing of beauty. Not quite sure what game you were watching.

    • RaiderGenghis

      I actually thought his Bears game was really good. Unbelievable throw to Cooper for TD. Throw to Roberts was incredible through outstretched arms of 2 defenders. 30 yard dart to Crab to set up field goal with 2 min left. His teammates were especially poor. Murray was bad. He still leaves plays on the field, but also makes throws that only Rodgers and Brady might be able to make, if that.

    • David Wilson

      His interception was all on Murray, and he had a clear TD pass dropped (or taken out of bounds) by Seth Roberts. He also had Amari Cooper dropping good passes.

      Carr is doing just fine, and the loss against the Bears wasn’t on him

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      he garded as above average, albeit barely, marking the first time in his short career he’s done that in b2b games

    • Johnny Rotten

      No touch passes? What about both of Amari Coopers TDs? The Cooper TD against the Bears was a beautiful rainbow. What about the Seth Roberts TD against the Browns? He arched it right over the defenders head and it dropped beautifully into Roberts hands. Even Roberts game winning TD was nice. It was a bullet but Roberts was sitting right in between two defenders so Carr puts the ball low and away where only Roberts can grab it. Carr has been very good with ball placement and ball security.

      Carr had a good game against the Bears but unfortunately there were way too many drops. Cooper and Rivera both dropped passes that hit them right in the hands. Both of would of been 3rd down conversions. Roberts stepped out of bounds which would of been another beautiful rainbow TD pass from Carr. Then of course Murray caused the INT. It hit in right in the chest but it bounced right out. Carr is miles ahead of where he was at last year and ahead of all the other 2014 rookie QBs.

      • Tim Edell

        He’s not ahead of Bridgewater at this point.

        • bobbyv

          Unfair comparison, Carr had virtually no running game to support him last year and no defense, and no defense whatsoever this year. Let’s put Adrian Peterson in the Raiders backfield and we can start to compare Bridgewater to Carr.

        • bobbyv

          Unfair comparison, Carr had virtually no running game to support him last year and no defense, and no defense whatsoever this year. Let’s put Adrian Peterson in the Raiders backfield and we can start to compare Bridgewater to Carr.

        • Bobby Richardson

          Carr looks far better than b-water. . teddy is the black Alex smith. game managing captain checkdown

          • codered5

            To be fair bridgewater hasn’t been asked to pass as much and young qb’s specifically have to throw to get a rhythm

        • Johnny Rotten

          Carr is most definitely ahead of Bridgewater at this point. Carr leads Bridgewater in nearly every category.

          -Carr- -Bridgewater-
          Yards: 922 774
          TD: 7 2
          INT: 2 2
          Passer Rating: 97.7 84.5
          Completions: 62.6% 67%
          YPA: 7.5 6.7
          YPG: 230 194
          Sacks: 3 13
          Plays 20+ yds: 12 7

          Bridgewater only beats Carr in completion percentages.

          • Tim Edell

            PFF has him graded higher as well but when your team has been as bad as the Raiders have been he looks like Marino out there.

          • Johnny Rotten

            The only reason PFF has Bridgewater graded higher than Carr is because they gave Bridgewater a better rushing grade. Bridgewater’s positive rushing grade raises his overall grade. Carr has a negative rushing grade that lowered his overall grade. Bridgewater can scramble and make some guys miss. Who cares. He’s a QB not a RB.

            As I already pointed out, Carr is ahead of Bridgewater in nearly every major category. Even PFF gives Carr a higher passer rating than Bridgewater. It’s funny because Bridgewater’s rushing grade is higher than his passing grade according to PFF. Since these guys are QBs and not RBs, they’re passing is the only thing that’s important. Again just look at the stats I posted above. Carr has more yards and TDs, a better passer rating, a better TD/INT ratio, etc.

          • codered5

            Elaborate if you could. So the the raiders previous poor qb play makes carr’s simple and advanced stats better then teddy bridewater’s? I don’t think he’s shown himself to be better than teddy but I don’t get your rational

      • Tim Edell

        He’s not ahead of Bridgewater at this point.

  • crosseyedlemon

    I’m guessing praise for Carr this week means PFF will have him featured on “What’s wrong with my QB” next week.

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      lol

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  • Ieyasu

    I put this loss on the Coachs playcalling

    • Johnny Rotten

      It wasn’t the play calling. It was way too many mistakes like dropping passes and fumbling. Cooper dropped a pass that would of been a 3rd down conversion. Rivera dropped what would of been another 3rd down conversion and would of put us in 1st and goal. Roberts couldnt keep his feet in bounds on a potential TD. Then Murray caused an INT and fumble.

      The coaches have done a good job of putting these guys in the right position. It’s up to the players to stop letting footballs bounce off of their hands.

  • RaiderRoss75

    He has a supporting cast this year that he didn’t last year, and we’re seeing steady improvement week over week. It takes time to adjust to the NFL. In Carr’s case especially because of the poor OC he had in college. He’s getting better and within the next 2 – 3 years (with a few more weapons and a better right side of the o-line) will be considered one of the best in the league.