For a majority of Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins, Derek Carr was sharp pushing the ball downfield and finding open receivers. Even his first interception may have resulted in a long completion had receiver Amari Cooper not stopped running his route. Though it can be argued Carr could have thrown the pass sooner as well.
Two weeks ago Gruden expressed that Carr wasn’t aggressive enough against the Rams after he missed an open Amari Cooper downfield multiple times.
“You look at the film, we had him wide open deep,” Gruden said after the season opener. “We didn’t go there. He was open a couple of times and for whatever reason we didn’t go that route.”
On Carr’s other interception against the Dolphins, he had the opposite problem. With the game was on the line with just minutes left in the fourth quarter, and the Raiders lined up in first down at the Miami 13-yard-line, Carr threw a jump ball for the end zone for Martavis Bryant and it was picked off by Xavian Howard. That decision by Carr likely that cost the Raiders the game, striking a different tone from Gruden.
“I thought we were too aggressive. I think at times he is trying too hard,” Gruden said of his quarterback Monday. “We will talk about that extensively here in the next couple of hours, but I thought he played really good under some very tough circumstances. I think sometimes he needs to learn a little bit more patience and I think he will. I’m really excited about the way he has played and improved and mastered this offense.”
In Carr’s mind, he saw Martavis Bryant was in a match-up he could win and went for it. A decision Carr says he doesn’t regret.
“I just saw one-on-one with Martavis (Bryant),” Carr explained after the game. “Obviously he was hot and he was doing some good things. I just gave him a chance, just like I have a hundred other times in my life. They ended up making a good play. It sucks, right? The outcome sucks; but I think going back through in my head, getting one-on-one with that guy I’d probably have to do it again.”
There were a lot of smarter decisions on that play. It was first down so there was no reason to get desperate. The Raiders had been running it down the Dolphins throat all drive. With Miami unable to find an answer to the rushing attack, Carr could have handed the ball off rather than take a shot against Howard.
These are plays both Gruden and Carr would like to have back. The key going forward will be to find the line between being aggressive and still making good decisions.