Myself as well as others in the media who watched Derek Carr in the offseason and training camp said several times that Derek Carr looked very good. Over the first two preseason games, that hadn’t shown up, leading to some concern among fans, many of whom were questioning our assessment of the Raiders’ third-year signal caller.
These questions made him the number one player to watch as the Raiders took the field in their preseason home opener against the Titans. It was the first game in which the team had a real plan in place for a specific opponent and we were to see Carr and the rest of the first team get more reps than they had in the first two preseason games.
Right on cue, the improved Carr showed up.
“I thought Derek was sharp,” said Jack Del Rio. “He made a couple real nice throws in the first half.”
Carr played a little over a half of football, completing 12 of 18 passes for 169 yards and 2 touchdowns with no interception for a 133.8 passer rating.
For many fans who expected to see this kind of performance from the jump in the first game, it was long overdue. For Del Rio, he had seen what the rest of us had seen and expected this from his quarterback.
“I feel really good about where he is,” said Del Rio. “I think the fact that *other people* can relax a little bit about him, maybe that helps, but for us we know what we have and we know he’s had a tremendous offseason.”
Those two touchdown passes in the game – one a 29-yard bomb to Amari Cooper, the other a 6-yar slant to DeAndre Washington – were Carr’s first of the preseason. While Carr says he wasn’t at all concerned about getting things on track after his performances in the first two games, having it finally show up was crucial.
“To do that (game plan) this week and to go out and score some points was nice,” said Carr. “It was good to move the ball and show what we’ve been working on just a little bit. But we’re gonna play them here in a few weeks so you can’t show too much. So, we kept it pretty base. It was good to go out there and put up some points and just execute. That was nice.”
Carr’s longest pass of the game was his second of the day, and his first to a wide receiver. It was a statement kind of throw after missed connections on long balls in the first two preseason games. It was a go route to Michael Crabtree up the right sideline that went for 41 yards. Carr dropped it in perfectly to Crabtree who got a step on his defender, setting the Raiders up in first and goal at the ten.
“That’s a lot of practice, man,” Crabtree said of the catch. “We’ve been practicing the go ball really all the reps. The chemistry. It was a good ball and I don’t think he could’ve thrown it any better.”
Crabtree agreed with Carr that it this game it was time for the work they had put in to show up on the field of play.
“I mean it’s preseason, but you want to compete and I feel like we did that out there,” Crabtree said. “Coop catching the deep ball, me catching the deep ball, Johnny [Holton] making plays, Seth [Roberts] making plays, Andre Holmes out there. We got a good group of guys and we just want to put it together.”
This game was a bit more in line with the kind of chemistry we expected to see with Derek Carr getting back his top four receivers and having the same coaching staff for the second straight year.
You may now return to your previously held opinion. Whatever that might be.