Henderson, Nev. — Las Vegas Raiders Derek Carr, whose quarterback rating has fallen sharply the past four times the team has replaced offensive playcallers, admitted Wednesday that he’s still getting used to first-year coach Josh McDaniels’ system.
“I feel a lot more comfortable than I did a month ago,” said Carr, whose 40.6 QBR through two games is his lowest since 2014.
“I mean, when you come out and do it, it’s different from the sideline. Training camp is different, right? There’s a different clock in the game because I’m winning now. I can run the film and I have experience from that standpoint, in the system. [McDaniels] I have to reach. … I want to do exactly what he wants. … It’s going to grow, obviously, but the small sample size, the first couple of games, I’m doing some things [McDaniels is] ‘Yes, that’s what I thought. Next play.”
The Raiders are 0-2 after last-second losses against the Los Angeles Chargers and Arizona Cardinals, starting slowly in Inglewood and ending sluggishly in Las Vegas, blowing a 20-0 halftime lead. They play the winless Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
But Carr’s stats in the second half of the Chargers game and the first half of the Cardinals game stand out. In those two stretches, he completed 32 of 47 attempts (68.1%) for 409 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions and three sacks. And the Raiders outscored the Chargers and Cardinals 36-7 in those two areas.
This is the offensive production many predicted for Carr and McDaniels.
However, as receiver Daventae Adams put it, “that’s not how a football game works” in real life.
“Every player, you’ve got to learn how to put your foot on the gas and, for lack of better words, break their necks when you have them in a corner,” said Adams, who went from 17 targets on the Chargers. 12 receiving yards against the Cardinals.
“That’s the way I learned to play the game and I believe this team will play the game.”
Carr’s QBR dropped from 56.1 under offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave in 2016 to 50.5 in 2017 under OC Todd Downing. A year later, in his first season with coach Jon Gruden, Carr’s QBR was 46.5.
Last year, Carr’s QBR dropped from 64.3 to 52.4 in 2021 after Gruden resigned after five games following his email scandal, with Greg Olsen calling the plays after Gruden left.
McDaniels said he’s “very comfortable” with the car at this point in the season.
“He processes it very quickly and then can go out there and execute it,” McDaniels said. “Every week is a little different. It’s not going to be the same exact thing we did last week offensively, defensively or kicking. And I think for some — again, I’m not here, I’ve never been where everyone else has been, so I don’t really know — but different training. I know for some people in different organizations that have employees, that’s not necessarily a big deal.”
Adams said it was up to his teammates to keep the car calm.
“There’s so many things that go into playing quarterback, man, it’s tough,” Adams said. “He wins the second game. Obviously, that’s something we all have to work on because Derek can do his job and get comfortable out there. Same thing, he’s not going to be as comfortable throwing. If wide receivers drop the ball every play or … it’s If not better calls.
“That’s the hardest position to play on the field. So I try to help him make his job as easy as I can. And he has a clear mind to sit back and deliver.”
Carr said: “Up until this point in my career, I’ve been able to catch it fast and hope to see something and do something. [McDaniels is] teaches me. Again, I’m not perfect by any means…but I’m doing my best to make it work as he sees it.
“We are very close. But not close minded to winning football matches.”