Derek Carr’s Growing Pains Highlight Challenge Ahead for the Oakland Raiders

Derek Carr became the first rookie quarterback to start Week 1 for the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. The start of the Carr era renewed Raider Nation's hope that the team will soon get on the winning track after more than a decade without a playoff berth.

Expectations for Carr were unrealistically high coming into a Week 1 road start against Rex Ryan's defense. Deep down, everyone expected growing pains, but they were a little more painful and plentiful than anyone would like to admit.

Carr was neither bad nor good Sunday, but his growing pains highlight the challenges ahead for both him and the Raiders. Carr must learn quickly, and if the Raiders don't give him more help soon, that's going to be harder and harder for him to do.

The Raiders failed to protect Carr with a competent running game, the defense was fortunate to allow 19 points, and Oakland's receivers struggled to get much separation from a thin Jets secondary. Carr proved too green to put the team on his back against a well-coached defense on the road.

The primary criticism of Carr coming out of college was that he struggled with pressure, which continued to be the case in his first start as a pro. Derek's older brother set an NFL record his rookie year with 76 sacks, but Derek's struggles Sunday were of a different variety.

Carr did a good job of getting the ball out of his hand to avoid sacks, but it was at the expense of looking down the field for open receivers. He finished 20-of-32 with two touchdowns and no interceptions—which would have been a huge success if he had more than 151 yards passing.

The underlying problem was that Carr was too slow to pull the trigger on passes over 10 yards even though he was only reading half of the field. When Ryan forced Carr to make quicker decisions by blitzing, he struggled to find his hot read and forced the ball into coverage. Carr was lucky he didn't throw two ...

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