Derek Carr’s Deep Ball is Middle of the Pack

In a pass heavy league, it would be nice to see Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr take a few more shots down the field in 2020.

Carr’s lack of deep ball frequency is an often-discussed topic among fans and national media alike. While it’s not that he lacks the ability to make that throw, it’s the inconsistency that is the root of anger for most fans.

In a recent PFF article that ranked quarterbacks by their deep passing performance in 2019, Carr was ranked 17th out of 33. Carr’s 48 pass attempts of 20 or more yards last season ranked near the bottom of the pack. In fact, it was actually one less than rookie Gardner Minshew. Even Kyler Murray attempted 62 deep passes.

Related: TE Foster Moreau Is the Solution to Raiders Defensive Woes

The Deep Ball

The deep ball is one of most exciting plays in the game. To see a quarterback wind up and throw the ball 20, 30 or even 40 yards down field is exhilarating to witness. Even if it falls incomplete. Also, to many fans even the attempt to throw the ball deep shows that both the quarterback and team are willing to take shots and push the envelope in order to secure wins. Deep shots also help keep a defense honest and not cheat on the shorter routes. So, why is it Carr only attempted so few deep pass attempts last season? While the quick answer most fans jump to is the lack of weapons, especially one who was a legitimate deep ball threat, it’s fair to ask if Carr is scared to make those throws.

Film Doesn’t Lie

Several times while watching film, you can see a receiver come open down the field and Carr never looks his way. It’s also fair to wonder if the game plan isn’t built for deep passes or even if Gruden strongly discourages them unless it’s a sure-fire guarantee. All those theories are merely speculation but the questions are still valid. What’s even more puzzling is that before the 2019 season, Carr tied Tom Brady for third most accurate deep ball thrower and behind only Russell Wilson and Drew Brees.

The excuses are many and the speculation is constant. Speed kills and can win several games if used correctly, look at Tyreek Hill in Kansas City or Hollywood Brown in Baltimore. With the addition of Henry Ruggs III, the Raiders finally have just that, speed. It’ll be interesting to see how Gruden uses Ruggs in his offense. But one thing is certain, Carr has to push to ball down the field more often if the Raiders want to have any chance at success in 2020.

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In college he killed the deep ball.. he had devonte Adam’s to throw too


Stupid reading of last years performance. Hes as accurate downfield as the most elite. Not to mention the TD/INT ratio. Cant be throwing to fully covered personnel when there were open sources down field. Waller became a name because he can command that mid game. Ruggs should take the top off and it SHOULD lead to more deep balls, but not by many. I bet Ruggs speed keeps the defense “honest” deep and more opens up the run game. Josh Jacobs is gonna be WILD this year. Carr is a game manager not a gun slinger. Hes a perfect fit.

Damian C

Middle of the pack? I think you mean in the middle of the stands. His deep ball last season was in the single digits percentage-wise past 15 yards, so I’m not sure where you’re getting your numbers from. Because as deep ball either ended up on the sideline, or in the back of the end zone. It was a good laugh though!


It’s the system. Stop blaming the personnel for executing what the coach wants. The WCO is all about spreading the field with quick and accurate throws and setting up the RAC. It balances this with a zone block based run game that allows the QB to read the D pre-snap and attack where the defense is softest. While there are definitely deep routes in the system, often they are there to pull a safety and open up the underneath plays. Those deep open guys aren’t getting looked at because they are not early in the progression. If you spot someone… Read more »

Jay Haskins

Carr has a great deep ball. One of the best. I’m not into Numbers but I have seen almost every game he has played in a Raiders uniform. I can say a lot over a six year stretch. But let’s just talk about last year. We all know what happened with Antonio Brown, even though some on here conveniently forget when they hate on Carr. But moving past, the only receivers Carr had to go to and that he trusted was first year converted TE Darren Waller and rookie slot machine Hunter Renfrow. Some people want argue with me about… Read more »


Honestly raiders have no true deep threat in this offense so this article is a load of bs saying the deep ball isn’t a strength. When you look at kc or Baltimore and other teams that seem to have a deep ball td or 2 every week there is usually one thing involved a speedy wr which is not on this depth chart til now

R8RNation Fan

This article is middle of the pack…Carr has some weapons now so let’s see how it goes. They planned on having that guy with a name I won’t mention. He was a deep threat and there to open the field and he didn’t show. If Carr is a bum this year then it’s on him. You can’t blame him for having a WR group made of practice squad guys n 2019…

John lucas

Maybe if he threw more deep balls he would have more interceptions just saying