Possibly the biggest criticism the Raiders offense and Derek Carr in particular faced from last season is the lack of long balls. Carr dinked and dunked his way through a 4-12 season, that much is true. There were certainly some instances he could have thrown the deep ball instead of checking it down, but there were even more instances where it just wasn’t there.
The Raiders were a disaster at the tackle spots, leading to Carr being sacked 51 times. They also didn’t have much in the way of deep threat receivers. Their leading receiver was tight end Jared Cook and their top wide out was Jordy Nelson 32-year-old Jordy Nelson who wasn’t a long ball specialist even in his prime.
On day one of OTA’s Derek Carr hit new receiver Tyrell Williams on a long post pattern for a would-be touchdown. Carr was asked about the addition of Williams, and took the opportunity to defend his willingness to throw the long ball.
“Contrary to popular belief, I like throwing it down the field,” said Carr.
He went on to say Williams reminds him of former Raiders targets like Andre Holmes and Johnny Holton who he says allowed him to go deep more often in previous years. Not surprisingly, neither player was part of the offense last season. So, in other words, Carr is saying he didn’t have the weapons to go deep as often last season and with Williams and Antonio Brown, he expects the deep ball to return
Brown wasn’t in attendance on day one of OTA’s, so there wasn’t the opportunity to show off their connection to media in attendance. Come day two — without our prying media eyes on hand — Brown re-joined his Raiders teammates and the Raiders were sure to get video of it to show everyone what they hope is a preview of what you can expect from the QB/WR duo this season.
“That’s really fun.”— Oakland Raiders (@Raiders) May 23, 2019
Yeah, we could get used to this. pic.twitter.com/B5IQjKr9I0
New nickel corner Lamarcus Joyner stays with Brown fairly well, but all Brown needed was a step and Carr put it on him perfectly for the long score.
Making connections like this takes chemistry. Derek Carr has to get his timing down with Antonio Brown to know where he’s going to be long before he gets there. Up to this point, most of that work has had to come away from the facility, with he and his receivers getting together to throw.
“A whole new group, new challenge of getting on the same page and things like that. The one thing I’ve seen about this group is they work crazy hard,” said Carr. “It’s nice to see how hard they want to work and how great they want to be. Obviously. Every quarterback wants to do that, but to have wide outs reaching out saying let’s go do this, it’s pretty cool. . . To have that, we all understood that we had to get on the same page – all the guys – we all got together and we all threw. We understood that we had some making up to do, but I think we’ve hit a good stride and we have a little ways to go.”
It’s just a couple long passes we’re talking about, but it’s also quite early in the process with new brand new receivers on the team. Call it something to build upon.