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.