Emotions were running high on Saturday for several Las Vegas Raiders players. The frustration of this season has clearly worn out several key players on the Raiders’ roster. It’s no secret that quarterback Derek Carr has struggled mightily this month, with the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers highlighting his shortcomings on a national stage. Obviously, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that head coach Josh McDaniels has to also be frustrated by now. The question is, did the coach inadvertently throw his quarterback under the bus on Monday?
While speaking to the media this week, McDaniels was asked about Carr’s struggles. The fact that Carr has had a 55% completion percentage or worse over the last four games doesn’t help matters. Also, you can add in that Carr has thrown nine interceptions during the last five games. That’s far from “elite” production for your starting quarterback.
“For us to be able to win at this time of the year and be productive, offensively you have to throw the ball better than what we’ve thrown at times here in the last month and a half. We’ve been able to win some in spite of that, overall, but clearly that’s not the goal. The goal would be to be more productive than what we’ve been.”
Josh McDaniels can’t win with Derek Carr
Sometimes you just have to face the facts. McDaniels has been largely unsuccessful with Carr in their first year together. Yes, there have definitely been some moments of efficiency, even greatness. Nevertheless, the last month or so has been a disaster. More than anything, it has served as a reminder of Carr’s deficiencies as an NFL quarterback. For example, the conditions in Pittsburgh were far from ideal, but most fans already knew going in that Carr just doesn’t do well in that climate. To the credit of both McDaniels and Carr, the scoring drive they orchestrated in the first quarter was wonderful, but after that, it was more of the same.
To McDaniels’ point, the Raiders have won when the running game is on fire. Josh Jacobs had been playing like a man possessed, but the gameplan clearly hasn’t been working the last couple of games. On Saturday, McDaniels abandoned the run game, refusing to adjust and get more creative with his play calling. Relying on Carr to win you that game just wasn’t going to end well, and it didn’t.
“At the end of the day, the passing game and the production of the passing game usually has a lot to do with how we protect, the routes we run, the ability to read the coverage together, throwing and catching.”
As McDaniels stated, several aspects of the passing game haven’t been clicking lately. At this juncture, with two games left on the schedule, it shouldn’t be that shocking that McDaniels is calling out the passing game. It is, after all, his responsibility to put together the game plan, but even the most perfectly assembled plan of attack will fall short if you don’t have the right guy under center.
*Top Photo: Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun