Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has come under heavy criticism just two weeks into the season. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith already called out the signal-caller this week. You also have the media, fans, and analysts going at it over the notion of whether Carr shares blame for the 0-2 start. Well, if you ask Raiders offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi, he feels that No. 4 did well, all things considered.
In Week 1, Carr was called overaggressive, mostly after targeting star wideout Davante Adams a total of 17 times. That was 11 more looks than Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow got. Naturally, Raiders fans and the media were quick to point out the lopsidedness of this stat. However, give credit where it’s due. Head coach Josh McDaniels made the right adjustments at halftime, and Carr nearly led the team to victory in the final minutes. During that game, though, Carr did throw three costly interceptions. So, naturally, the focus in Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals shifted to playing somewhat more conservatively, being more careful with the shots that Carr took. To No. 4’s credit, he worked on that, bringing his interceptions down to zero. Naturally, his completion also saw a jump, from 59.46 to 64.10 against the Cardinals.
Did Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr “play great” on Sunday?
Strictly speaking on the accuracy issues and forcing the ball in Week 1, Lombardi stated that Carr certainly improved in that regard. “I think Derek did a good job on Sunday. He got the ball out on time. He was moving in the pocket. We had the one sack on the first series, and that really wasn’t his issue, that was more of a protection issue. But I thought Derek threw the ball well, he got the ball out on time, and he was active in the pocket.”
Carr, for the most part, looked more comfortable in the pocket. Even if it was just a minuscule few seconds, the O-line had an overall better performance in Week 2, which obviously made a difference. In many ways, Lombardi is right. Carr did what was asked of him. He was more patient, he spread the ball around more, and he dealt with his turnover issue from the previous game. The throw to Davante Adams which tons of fans pointed to as the one that might’ve won the game, has been debunked as a miscommunication.
There are parts of the Raiders’ fan base that want blood.
They’d love for Lombardi to come out and say that Carr blew it. There’s also a section that believes Carr is absolved of any criticism; it’s been the same old tale since 2017. Was Carr perfect? Of course not. There were missed opportunities in the second half, no doubt. At the same time, why not look at the bigger picture? Is it possible that, after a dominant first half, McDaniels pumped the breaks on Carr? opting instead for a safer approach, one where Carr doesn’t start making forced throws. As mentioned before, Lombardi could be disappointed with the outcome and, at the same time, recognize Carr’s game was what they were looking for. “In terms of just about every tiny little critique, I have nothing really to complain about with Derek in terms of that sense. I thought he threw the ball great on Sunday,” said Lombardi.
There you have it, folks. Carr played great.
*Top Photo: USA Today