clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Derek Carr now ‘fully fluent’ in Jon Gruden’s offense, on pace for first 4000-yard season

New, comments
NFL: Oakland Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

A much more comfortable Derek Carr has been playing quarterback for the Oakland Raiders over the last month and that has manifested itself in Carr putting up some impressive numbers.

After a slow start which included throwing a league-leading 8 interceptions in the first five games, Carr is now the NFL’s active interception-less streak leader with 292 consecutive passes. On top of that, he is on pace to surpass the 4,000-yard mark for the first time in his career. He has averaged 246.1 yards per game this season. Needing just 303 yards to reach the 4K milestone with two games left to play, if he stays anywhere near his season average, he should easily surpass it.

Reaching these new heights is all the more impressive for Carr because he’s been able to do it despite adversity throughout the season, including losing his feature back (Marshawn Lynch) to injuries, as well as three of his top receivers (Amari Cooper, Martavis Bryant, and Brandon LaFell). And perhaps most notably, injuries across the offensive line and starting rookies at both tackle spots leading to his being sacked 47 times, which is third most in the NFL.

“I think he’s hanging in there,” Gruden said Monday of Carr. “No question, I am sure he is sore. He knows he is carrying us right now on offense. That’s what a franchise quarterback is paid to do, but we are doing everything we can to support him, to try and put him in position to audible at the line of scrimmage, fix problems, and move the football and ultimately win games. He really has had us in position to win a lot of these games. It’s a credit to him.”

It might surprise some that Carr has yet to pass the 4K-yard mark in a single season, now in his 5th year. Carr was just 13 yards shy in 2015 and would have done it in 2016, needing just 63 more yards before his season was cut short by a broken leg in Week 16. In 2017 his numbers took a tumble due in part to a change in coordinators.

For the first time since that magical 2016 season, Carr has a firm grasp of the offense he’s running. Assuming he stays healthy for the remaining two games, with his recent command of the playbook, he should finally hit the elusive passing yards mark.

“He is fully fluent. Yes, he is. He is more fluent than I am,” Gruden said. “I mean he is playing great football. I think he will tell you. I can’t speak for him, but I think he’s really excited about where we are heading and his confidence level is very, very high right now.”

It’s difficult for some to celebrate individual numbers in a 3-win season. The hope is that as the talent improves around Carr over the next few years, eclipsing the 4,000-yard mark should become expected and perhaps it will even lead to a few wins.

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