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.
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.
#Raiders QB Derek Carr was the most accurate deep passer (targets 20+ yards downfield) in the NFL in 2018, and ranks 3rd in deep passing accuracy since 2016 🔽https://t.co/0V3cml9geL pic.twitter.com/vzw3hVNihj
— PFF Las Vegas Raiders (@PFF_Raiders) June 1, 2019
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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