Lack of Confidence in Offense, Talent Stunting Derek Carr’s Development

Despite the Oakland Raiders' 1-11 record, there is hope for the future in rookie quarterback Derek Carr. At least that’s the familiar narrative, but it glosses over several key facts.

The truth is that Carr has a lot of work to do before the Raiders should commit to him as the starter next year. Carr is directing the league’s worst offense and not doing much on his own to help it. Sticking with Carr requires a leap of faith that is both necessary and scary at the same time.

It has become apparent that Carr’s development may not be going quite as planned. That doesn’t mean all this experience will go to waste, but simply that he’s still learning tough lessons about playing quarterback at the NFL level.

A big part of the problem is that Carr doesn’t appear to have total confidence in the offense or his supporting cast. The result is either Carr being too conservative or taking big risks at the wrong times. Carr also locks on to wide receivers or concepts he trusts, leaving room for smart defenders to shut him down.

Without that trust, Carr’s development has come to a screeching halt. Before Carr can take his next step forward as a player, the Raiders may have to make changes around him for the better.

On a key 3rd-and-1 play early in the game against the St. Louis Rams Sunday, Carr threw incomplete and the Raiders punted. By the time Carr got the ball back again, it was 14-0. While Carr can’t control the defense, he can sustain drives to give his defense a rest and his opponent fewer opportunities.

The first note on the play was that the Raiders didn’t get the protection call right. The Raiders have running back Darren McFadden staying in to block the edge. The cornerback is showing blitz (red arrow), but he ends up dropping into coverage (blue arrows) and right into the path of Carr’s first read.

Without a man to...

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