Oakland Raiders: Analyzing Derek Carr’s performance through five weeks

Oakland Raiders (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Oakland Raiders (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

How has Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr fared thus far in the 2019 season? We take a look at his performances this year through Week 5.

The performance of Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has become something of a debate among Raiders fans over the first few weeks.

Carr’s performance over the past couple of years has led some to believe that head coach Jon Gruden isn’t fully sold on Carr as his quarterback for the foreseeable future.

With the Raiders bolting for Las Vegas at the end of the year, Carr needs to firmly establish himself among the league’s most reliable quarterbacks this season.

Through the first five weeks of the season, Carr has put up above-average numbers, but nothing he has done this year has indicated that he must be looked at among the league’s elite.

Through Week 5, Carr has passed for 1,117 yards and thrown six touchdown passes with three interceptions. Carr has also earned a QB rating, per ESPN, of 50.6, which ranks 17th in the league.

Carr’s best performance so far this season came in Week 1 against the Denver Broncos, where he threw for 259 yards and a touchdown with an 84.62% completion percentage.

The Raiders have managed to essentially turn Carr into an above-average game manager who has the ability to throw the ball downfield should they see or need that opportunity.

When taking a look at Carr’s passing charts, it shows that his 2019 season has been filled with quick, short passes. According to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats website, Carr has an average snap to throw time of 2.52 seconds.

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When Carr is able to make his way down the field by eating up short chunks of yardage, that results in the Raiders’ formula for success so far this season.

Whether that’s because it’s what the Raiders feel Carr is capable of or because Oakland lacks a top-tier wideout, it’s those short passes that have made up Carr’s 2019.

If the Raiders and Carr want to find further success, they will have to gain the ability to go deep more often.

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Carr’s deepest pass of the season so far came in Week 1 against the Denver Broncos where he threw a 43-yard pass to wide receiver Tyrell Williams.

The Raiders have to know that they need more deep attempts too, as they have made a few different moves with their wideouts over the season. The latest example comes from the acquisition of former Buffalo Bills wide receiver Zay Jones.

Other moves include the trade for former Green Bay Packers wideout Trevor Davis and the re-signing of Keelan Doss. Perhaps if the situation with former receiver Antonio Brown would have been different, Oakland would be more willing to go downfield.

Unfortunately, it obviously didn’t, but Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders still find themselves with a 3-2 record.

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What should be concerning, however, is that even though the Raiders are winning, Carr still hasn’t proved that he can put the numbers to sustain it.

Carr currently ranks 20th among NFL quarterbacks right now in passing yards per game and if the Raiders want to get more wins, especially against opponents like the Packers in Week 7, Carr will have to put up bigger numbers.

Even after two consecutive wins, the Raiders’ offense has to improve if they want a real shot at earning a playoff spot.

From what we’ve seen from Carr so far, his performances might be enough to earn wins against mediocre opponents like the Bears, Colts, and Broncos. But we’ve also seen what happens when Oakland runs into more quality opposition, like the Chiefs and Vikings.

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This season, Derek Carr is doing just enough to help the Raiders win games, but he will have to improve his play going forward if Oakland wants to find further success.