For the third year, Mike Sando over at ESPN puts together quarterback rankings based on votes he receives from various NFL insiders consisting of GM's, coaches, coordinators, and personnel evaluators. From those votes, he put the NFL's 32 starting quarterbacks into five tiers, from those who carry the team to those who shouldn't be starters in the NFL.
Coming in right in the middle of the pack, and leading out tier three, which is described as "Legit starter but needs heavy run game/defense to win" was Derek Carr. Some of the insiders polled had some serious concerns about Carr.
"He gets flustered, now," a personnel director said. "When we got pressure on him, he turned into a different guy. The great ones aren't like that. Russell Wilson, there is never going to be panic in him. As a matter of fact, he wants it because he knows he can break contain, and if they get single coverage, they are going to beat it. I still have some reservations about Carr because of his poise under pressure."
Last season, Carr made a big leap from his rookie season. That improvement showed up right from the start and the Raiders offense was on fire over the first half of the season. But by midseason, the offense fell off and faded down the stretch. That was right about the time Rodney Hudson was injured his ankle, missing three games and not quite himself in several other games.
Sando points out that Carr's number were drastically different with and without Hudson in the lineup, going from a QB/INT ratio of 24-7 with him and 8/6 without him. The thinking being that Carr can't function at a high level when things break down.
Struggling with decision making under pressure was a major issue with Carr as a rookie. He improved upon that greatly last season, but of course there is always work to be done. The prevailing thought is that the Raiders will have one of the league's best offensive lines along with an improved defense. If that holds true, we should see Carr take another step forward and reach his potential.