Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has been one of the most polarizing and criticized players in the NFL in the last two years. Given all the dissection of his play, one stat that’s been trending positively are his interceptions.
Entering year three with head coach Jon Gruden, Carr’s individual statistics have all gone up since entering the current offensive system. While developing a firm grasp on Gruden’s system, all Carr’s key stats such as touchdowns, passing yards and completion percentage have gone up. Meanwhile, his interceptions have been trending downward since 2017. This will have to continue if the playoffs are on the Raiders’ minds.
Looking back at the 2017 season, before Gruden returned to the Raiders, Carr had a solid year himself. His totals in that campaign were 22 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and completed 62.7% of his passes. That said, Carr led the Raiders to just six victories that season, and while apologists and critics will blame a myriad of reasons for that record, a change was needed. Although the team struggles continued in Gruden’s first year, Carr’s completion percentage jumped to 68.9% and his percentage of bad throws per attempt was 12.6 by season’s end.
A Descending Trend
When Carr’s criticized, the team’s success, or lack of, usually falls on his shoulders. Rightfully so, he’s the starting quarterback but under Gruden, he has been doing his homework and the numbers prove it. His interception totals have continuously dipped since 2017. 13 in 2017 and 10 in 2018, with the number falling to single digits last year with eight. For an even closer look, note Carr’s percentage of times intercepted for each pass attempt, which is as follows in the last three years: 2.5, 1.8, and 1.6. That trend can be attributed to a more conservative offensive approach. The improvement shouldn’t be overlooked.
This progression has to continue in a positive direction if the Raiders expect to make any noise. As a side note, Carr’s improving numbers have been accomplished with a lack of weapons. The Raiders found their running back last season in Josh Jacobs, which will go a long way towards helping Carr. More importantly, he now has tools. Henry Ruggs III, Bryan Edwards, and Lynn Bowden Jr. will help Carr and Gruden open up the offense.
If Carr can keep his interceptions between eight and 10, the Raiders should have success in 2020.
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