September 22, 2020

What’s holding back Raiders’ Derek Carr? Another touchdown per game would change everything

The only thing standing between Derek Carr and national acclaim is a touchdown per game.

If Carr can get the Raiders in the end zone with regularity, they go from a 7-9 team to the playoffs. We get a glimpse of whether Carr can upgrade the most basic of football statistics when they visit the Carolina Panthers Sunday to open the regular season in Charlotte, N.C.

A touchdown per game would push the Raiders from 19.6 points per game to 26.6. The last time Carr was in charge of an offense that scored 26 points per game was in 2016, the Raiders went 12-4 and Carr was a candidate for the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award.

Yet both before and after those years, getting the ball in the end zone was not a strength with Carr at quarterback. The only year the Raiders broke 20 points per game was in 2015 (22.4) and in every other season they’ve been below 20.

Carr is coming off a season in which he completed 361 of 513 passes, a 70.4 percent figure which is Drew Brees territory. His 4,054 yards and 8.0 yards per attempt were career highs.

So why does a portion of the fan base looks askance at Carr and wonder when coach Jon Gruden will pull the plug? It’s not because he has happy feet or shies away from contact. It’s not because he checks down too often or throws the ball short of the first down marker. John Madden used to say that winning is the best deodorant, but in Carr’s case it is touchdowns.

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if Carr leads the Raiders to more touchdowns, the Raiders will win. Considering the defensive upgrades they made, it’s a virtual lock. The Raiders scored 35 offensive touchdowns last season. Kick that number up to 51 and Carr will get the credit, because that’s the nature of the position.

At that point, Carr’s success will be attributed to the fresh start in Las Vegas and and the newfound chip on his shoulder about being disrespected, the latter theme introduced at an availability session earlier in training camp.

But in reality it’s all about the end zone.

“We’ve got to stay on the field more. We’ve got to punch the ball in,” Carr said during a Zoom teleconference Wednesday. “When we get in the red zone we’ve got to have the killer instinct where we’re not leaving without touchdowns.”

There are myriad statistics that illustrate the Raiders’ scoring issues with Carr, with these being the most damning:

— Of the 36 quarterbacks who have started 90 or more games over the past 20 seasons, the only one averaging fewer than Carr’s 20.3 is Kerry Collins at 19.6.

— The only quarterbacks to have their team average less than 20 points per game for three straight seasons among those who started more than half their games since 2000 are Carr, his brother David Carr, Sam Bradford, Jake Plummer and Joey Harrington.

It’s not all Carr’s fault. HIs supporting cast on both sides of the ball has been suspect. …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports

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