Derek Carr looked like starting QB material in his preseason week two game against the Detroit Lions. After preseason week one that wasn’t the case, but there was much improvement in his poise and confidence against the Lions.
When Carr came into the game he immediately started driving the ball with a rollout completion down the sideline for a 15-yard gain to James Jones. He turned what looked to be a broken play into a first down- a sign a QB is ready to be on the field.
Carr didn’t stop there. He then found Brice Butler open in the middle of the field for another first down, which then set up a back foot pass to Greg Little for a massive 45-yard completion just short of a touchdown. Carr was hungry for his first NFL touchdown pass so he faked the hand off and bootlegged right to find his tight end Jake Murphy for the touchdown. Carr even got the opportunity to get on the field with the first team offense, which raised the question: are the Raiders considering Derek Carr for the starting QB position?
After the game, coach Dennis Allen responded to that question saying it was a game time decision to see how Carr would react with the first team and there was nothing more to it.
Carr ended up leading the Raiders on two more scoring drives before he rolled out of the pocket to his right where Lions defensive end Larry Webster drove Carr into the ground from behind. Carr left the game holding his ribs but it turns out he was kept from returning because of a concussion. Coach Allen recently confirmed that the x-rays of Carr’s ribs came up negative so the only thing stopping Carr from being back on the field is passing the NFL’s concussion assessment.
From the looks of the situation on Friday, Carr easily could have broken a rib and suffered the concussion. In this case, Carr would be out for an extended period of time healing and rehabbing which would only set his improvement back heavily.
Coach Allen seemed impressed with Carr’s improvement from preseason week one to week two. Now that we know Carr will only need some ice and rest before throwing another football he will be able to continue to improve this preseason (after Matt Schaub’s preseason performance it looks like Oakland is going to need him).
So far, in the two weeks of preseason Carr’s numbers are slightly better than Schaub’s (Schaub: 11-20, 108 passing yards 1 int, Carr: 19-32, 183 passing yards, 1 int) and that could be because of the number of reps, but what I don’t understand is why Coach Allen is putting Carr on the field with both starting and backup offensive lines. It was the drive after Carr lined up with the starters that he was put back on the field with the second team where backup tackle Jack Cornell barely even got a hand on Webster as he completely pounds and injures Carr.
It seems like a lot of injuries happen when you don’t stick to the game plan. I understand he wanted to see Carr react with the starters but I think it is too early to be having this young, extremely inexperienced QB get thrown into any more situations that he hasn’t practiced for. That may have been exactly what Coach Allen wanted to do (put him in a new situation to see how he does), but Carr was doing so well. Why not just let him continue to grow behind Schaub during the preseason? Then if the time comes that Schaub can’t get the job done during the regular season the Raiders will have that option to bring up a well-rounded, healthy Derek Carr.