Derek Carr

What’s Wrong With The Las Vegas Raiders Offense?

With a 22-24 loss to the Tennessee Titans dropping the Las Vegas Raiders to 0-3, it begs the question, “What the heck is going on?” What are the reasons why the team is not winning? Why is this happening? What’s going on with franchise quarterback Derek Carr? Raiders owner Mark Davis is having closed-door postgame meetings with the head coach as well. Suddenly, the panic meter is at DEFCON 3.

The alert level is already rising for the Las Vegas Raiders

Everyone’s hands are reaching for the panic button. In the offseason, the Raiders went out and spent money. A lot of talent was brought in, and the Raiders won the offseason. To keep it a buck, it’s a 60/40 split between a progressively regressing quarterback and a head coach who needs to adjust his gameplan for more balance.

Keeping four running backs and a fullback on the 53-man roster hinted towards a hearty rushing attack. Instead, the Raiders have run the football less than any other team in the league. Meanwhile, they’re averaging a healthy 4.5 yards per carry, ranking 15th in the league. Somehow, they have continuously given up on the run game and nearly completely abandoned it when it was working. The most concerning factor of all is that Josh Jacobs scored 12 redzone touchdowns in 2021. Thus far, he’s only touched the ball nine times inside the redzone.

The redzone continues to be a source of woe for Carr and the Raiders offense as well. In three games this season, the Raiders have made a league-leading 13 trips into the redzone. Daniel Carlson has attempted and made eight field goals and only four extra points. Carr’s redzone passing numbers continue to underwhelm despite the improvements in weaponry around him.

The Inauspicious 6

The Raiders’ six offensive touchdowns overall are the 19th most in the league. All six of them are passing touchdowns, which puts them in the top ten three weeks into the season. The fact that all six touchdowns came in the redzone both elevates and hollows out an otherwise impressive statistic. You might be asking why this is a bad thing, because it’s not.

Carr has a 9/27, 33.3 completion percentage for 57 yards, six touchdowns, and one interception in 13 trips inside the redzone this season. Five of Carr’s six passing touchdowns are within 10 yards. The significance is that out of six passing touchdowns, only one occurred more than 10 yards away, but not more than 20.

Derek Carr has missed four surefire touchdowns on deep throws to wide open receivers that he underthrew. Davante Adams has caught three of those touchdowns, but since a strong Week 1 showing, he has seven catches on 17 targets for 48 yards combined in two losses.

Turnovers, blocking, and accuracy issues plague Derek Carr

The Raiders are currently tied for the fifth-most turnovers in the league with five. They have the sixth-highest turnover percentage at 17.2%, and inversely, they have the third-highest scoring percentage with 48.3% in the league. On a per-game basis, only Matthew Stafford, Jameis Winston, and Mac Jones are averaging more interceptions than Carr’s 1.33 per game. What’s problematic is how inaccurate Carr has been with the time he’s had to throw.

Despite all the moving pieces in the offensive line around Carr, the line has provided ample time to pass the football. Through three games, his 2.5 seconds of pocket time tie for the second-most in the league. He’s the 12th least pressured quarterback, having been pressured on only 19.2% of his 120 passing attempts, but he still ranks 25th in completion percentage at 60.8%. He hardly gets blitzed anymore. Opponents have only blitzed 26 times in three games, the 19th-most. What gives?

To take it a step further, Carr has completed 73 out of 120 passes. Only 79 of these passes have been deemed on-target throws. His on-target throwing percentage of 68.7% is the ninth worst in the league. Consequently, he is tied for the second-worst throws (28) and the only player with a worse bad throwing percentage than his (24.3%) is Justin Fields.

Derek Carr needs to be better. He has time; he has a number-one receiver; guys are getting open. Obviously, he can’t catch the ball, but he can throw a lot more catchable balls as well.

Are Josh McDaniels’ cheeks heating up?

Following the Titans game but before attending his postgame press conference, head coach Josh McDaniels met with owner Mark Davis. The exact words aren’t known, but more than likely it had to do with Davis’s displeasure at being an 0-3 football team after spending so much money this offseason. Maybe Davis expressed his displeasure at not having a high-scoring offense like he was promised.

In a close game, Jacobs averaged 5.5 yards per carry but had only three carries in the second half. Davis also had to see his defense mercilessly run through by the Titans. Simultaneously, he’s seeing many of the same issues he’s been seeing since taking over as owner.

Now, the Raiders have no balance on offense. Currently, they rank last in the league in rushing attempts with 53 but an encouraging 28th in terms of yards produced. However, they are 15th in the league in yards per carry, averaging 4.5. Of 13 trips inside the redzone, roughly 39 total plays (give or take a 4th down attempt or two), only nine have been rush attempts. Continuing down that alarming trend is the fact that only five rushing attempts have taken place from inside the 10; of those five, only two attempts have come from inside the five-yard line.

Not all is lost, Raider Nation.

McDaniels may not be able to execute his offense the way he wants it done on the sideline, but he can certainly control how many times the running back touches the football. Unless at the line of scrimmage, some of his calls get killed, then an audible becomes the new play. The Raiders are 10th in scoring (64 points) and 21.3 points per game, 11th in yards per play (5.7), and third in scoring percentage (48.3%). Firing him is not the benefit many deluded fans think it is. A few tweaks here and there should be enough to get the Raiders back on track in 2022.

Las Vegas Raiders 2022 Season: A Tale of Halves

*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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