clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Raiders QB Derek Carr not scared of facing New England Patriots

New, comments

Carr confident Raiders can win

Oakland Raiders v New England Patriots Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images

Given the Raiders struggles on both offense and defense this season it is understandable that many do not think the team has much of a chance in this weeks game. Facing the New England Patriots is a daunting challenge but one that quarterback Derek Carr is not shying away from.

“It’s not a scary thing to play them,” Carr said Wednesday. “They’re the next team on the schedule. Let’s not make it something it’s not, but let’s respect that they’re very smart. They’re very wise in how they game plan things. They have great players that can do it. If they’re going to try to take things away, that’s this league. Every team tries to take things away that you do good and you try to hit them with other things. It works both ways, offensively and defensively in that sense.”

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has more than earned all the accolades and respect he receives for his ability to game plan. He is well known to find ingenious ways to neutralize whatever it is that a team relies upon. He isn’t unbeatable, however, and even Belichick is aware of just how many weapons Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing has at his disposal starting with Carr himself.

“He’s very impressive,” Belichick said. “He can make all the throws. Smart, reads coverages well. . . I’d say he does a tremendous job. The Raiders have great skill players – running backs, tight ends, receivers – and a great offensive line. So there’s a lot of weapons on offense and Carr makes it all go. They’re tough. They’re really good on offense. Excellent talent and they can score in a hurry really from any place on the field at any position, so they’re hard to defend.”

NFL games are won and lost through individual match-ups. While Belichick will have a great plan to control a couple of these match-ups, he cannot control them all.

Tight end Jared Cook will serve as the Raiders barometer in this contest. His versatility will play an integral part of the offense’s ability to counter the defense and dictate the game.

“It can change the personnel that people play,” Carr said of Cook’s role in the offense. “If they want to play a sub defense, with him on the field and he’s shown that he can block, then that makes it tough on them. If they want to play a base defense, he’s shown that he can catch routes. That’s the risk that they’re taking each time.

“We’ve talked about it with the running backs as well. They have to be able to do everything. We have to have guys that can do everything. We have to have Lee [Smith] run routes and catch the ball and he has. Being able to have guys that can do all different spots, it definitely helps.”

There are several match-ups that favor New England but the story was the same against Kansas City and the Raiders won that contest. That game was won on the strength of Derek Carr and the offense. Amari Cooper in particular had a career game that day. He sees similar possibilities against the Patriots defense which is giving up more yards per game (408.3) than any team in football.

“They’ve given up a lot of yards,” said Cooper, “so we definitely feel like we can go in and attack them on the ground and in the air.”

With a bye week to allow extra time to break down the Patriots, expect the Raiders to run plays on offense that we have not seen.

There may not be a tougher opponent the Raiders will face as they try and get the second half of the season rolling. While you can certainly respect the threat the Patriots pose, there’s no reason to be intimidated or afraid. Derek Carr certainly isn’t.

Editor’s note: Levi Damien contributed to this article.