Pump the brakes on the Derek Carr bandwagon
It might be time to pump the brakes on the Derek Carr bandwagon. Last season he put up some pretty impressive numbers as the Raiders’ rookie starter, throwing 21 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions, but his per-play performance never matched those statistics, and he was helped out by an offense centered around conservative passing (albeit one with a very poor supporting cast, a fact that has been frequently cited by those pumping up Carr’s rookie performance).
Only Blake Bortles graded worse over the 2014 season than Carr, and Carr didn’t show the kind of progress that fellow rookie Teddy Bridgewater did over the season (Bridgewater finished 15th among QBs in our grades).
Against Arizona on Sunday night, Carr earned a -2.8 grade thanks to completing just 18 of his 34 attempts (52.9 percent) for 213 yards and no TDs.
Carr had a passer rating under pressure of just 9.8 in the game, which makes the loss of OT Menelik Watson to a torn Achilles potentially even more impactful. Watson has had his struggles as a pro, but was slated to start at right tackle this year and was having a solid preseason, allowing just one pressure in his 52 snaps before injury.
In 2014 Carr threw as many interceptions (6) under pressure as he did when kept clean, despite 205 fewer snaps, and his numbers tumbled when he was hurried. He completed just 42.6 percent of his passes and had a passer rating of 57.0 when pressured, so that is likely to be a major factor in his play this year.
The Raiders may be moving in the right direction (2015 first-round pick WR Amari Cooper looks like another great selection, after the success of 2014 first-rounder LB Khalil Mack), but there is still a long way to go for the team and its young quarterback before they deserve a ride on the hype train.