Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is consistently a lightning rod for debate. Whether it’s within Raider Nation or instigated by the media, you can count on Carr being a topic every offseason. Most recently, an anonymous (surprise, surprise) NFL coach criticized No. 4.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler recently conducted a survey that included coaches. Among those coaches, one voiced his opinion on Carr. In particular, he scrutinized his toughness.
“His film was really good. The guy was one of the best third-down passers in the NFL last year. He lacks a little toughness at times; that’s my only real knock on him. Won’t stand in there. Early in his career, I would say he had trouble driving the ball vertically, but that doesn’t appear to be an issue anymore. He can hit all parts of the field and looks in command.”
Is that a fair criticism of Derek Carr by this anonymous coach?
In case you were wondering, Carr was ranked lower than all of the AFC West signal-callers in this survey. Under Jon Gruden, Carr saw some of his best statistical campaigns. In fact, his pocket presence improved. From 2019 on, Carr has averaged at least 2.5 seconds in the pocket per season, per Pro Football Reference. It is not an easy task by any means. Even more so when you take his sack numbers into account during that run: 29, 26, and 40, respectively.
Many critics like to point to his injury back in 2016 as some sort of turning point. As if he suddenly lost his gall to stand in the pocket and take a hit. However, it’s quite the opposite, as Carr has consistently made it work with what he’s handed, an underwhelming offensive line more often than not.
By comparison to his critique, the coach did point out Carr’s ability in the vertical game. Coming off a year where Carr threw for 23 touchdowns and was fifth in the NFL in passing yards, Carr could potentially have another impressive outing in 2022. Acquiring superstar wide receiver Davante Adams will surely play a big role in that.
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