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Derek Carr set to face NFL's fiercest pass rush duo 'If I get hit, I get hit'

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Otto Greule Jr

There have been a couple times over the past couple weeks that Derek Carr had a free rusher fly in on his right side, right in his face, and he still didn't see it coming. Taking hits like that are never good and the lack of pocket awareness is also concerning. That concern raises considerably this week when Carr will have to face the league's fiercest pass rush.

For the Broncos, they deploy Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware who are both approaching double digit sacks already and we are only at the halfway point of the season -- Miller with 9.0 sacks and Ware with 8.0 sacks.

Carr will be attacked from his face and blind side and he'll have to be aware of when they're bearing down on him or he's gonna be in serious trouble.

"When they're on opposite sides, it's hard to decide where you're going to help and who you're going to help on, so that makes it a challenge," Tony Sparano said of Miller and Ware. "One guy's got - whatever - nine sacks, the other guy's got eight sacks right now; they have 25 sacks as we speak. They're two outstanding rushers. DeMarcus Ware is a phenomenal person, first of all, and he really has been a great player. He was a great player for us in Dallas and I know how dynamic a pass rusher he is. You can see his maturity, and then Von, I've always had a lot of respect for him as a player. They're two dynamic players. It's rare that you'd find two on the same team like that, so it's going to be a heck of a challenge for us."

While Carr has only been sacked six times this season, getting hit feels just the same and that's happened 20 times this season. Five of those sacks and 16 of those hits have come from the middle or the right side -- not his 'blindside'. Though according to Carr, he turns a blind eye to both sides.

"I definitely don't look at [the rush]," said Carr. "You kind of just have to know, based on your rules, based on the protection, based on what blitz they're bringing, you know what's going on. There are a lot of things going on in your head where you're not even looking at, so I never look at it. A lot of times if I get hit, I don't see it. My wife tried to scare me the other day and I told her it doesn't work anymore, because I'm just used to looking down the field and getting blasted if I do get hit. I guess it's wearing on me.

"I try to just go out there and act like it's seven-on-seven and I'm just out there and I'm trying to complete passes, and then if I get hit, I just get hit. That's something I've worked on since college. I really wasn't good at it early on in college, and I worked on it, pretty hard. My coaches pushed me really hard to do it and it's something that ‘Flip' and [Offensive Coordinator] ‘Oly' push me really hard to do, is just make sure you're going through your reads, just read progression. That way, you're so locked in on your reads and the coverage, you don't even look at that stuff."

What Carr is still learning as an NFL quarterback is the balance between keeping your eyes downfield and having the proverbial 'eyes in the back of your head' to evade the rush. That is especially true when facing two dynamic pass rushers like he will be facing when the Broncos come to town.

"Oh, you know where they are," Carr said of Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. "It's just like playing J.J. Watt, you know where he's at. You know where those guys are, but I won't be looking at them. I'm not helping us if I'm doing that."

The Raiders offensive line actually protected against JJ Watt quite well in their meeting with the Texans in week 2. There is one key difference between then and now, however. Back then Khalif Barnes was at right tackle. Now it's Menelik Watson with the likelihood Barnes will once again fill in at left guard with Gabe Jackson out.

Also as great at JJ Watt is, he is still one man. Much easier to keep track of one guy than it is to account for two. And while watching them instead of looking downfield may not be helping the team, neither is being wheeled off on a stretcher. Remember what happened to your brother his rookie season? Yeah, like that.