Tag Archives: loss

“Derek Carr Struggles With Loss; Why He’s Still The Answer In Oakland; All The Video Highlights of Raiders v.s. Cowboys”

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Derek Carr struggles to come to grips that he fumbled out of the end zone

“No Excuses; I should have went out of bounds”.

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr

On a cool winter bay area night after a 20-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Derek Carr grasps hands with players from both teams on the field. He leads them in prayer thanking God for all that they have been given in life and for their continued safety. His disappointment though is obvious. Carr had fumbled out of bounds in the end zone on the Raiders last play of the game for a touchback. With that, a bad season officially got worse. Less things have to happen to make Justin Bieber win an Oscar than for the Raiders to make the playoffs. And in reality they don’t deserve it.

As he walks off the field Carr hears the manic responses that are so prevalent after an NFL game, win or lose. Some fans are cussing, and there is the occasional you suck, mixed in with a supportive word. As he leaves the field, two young fans ask for his autograph and he obliges instantly with a grin. Just like the times when he visits children in hospitals or does some of his charity work, he always does it with a smile. The life of Derek Carr has it’s up’s and downs.

History of Domination:

It was a history lesson for some and a reminder for others. Two of the most storied franchises in history were meeting in Oakland. It wasn’t Stabler v.s. Staubach but it still meant something extra.

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Derek Carr Fumbles out of the end zone in the final seconds of the loss to Dallas

The network showed that for 2 ½ decades, the Raiders and the Cowboys were NFL royalty. They always topped the NFL in tv ratings and they were must see TV. The goody America’s team with the cheerleaders and the too much makeup Texas look, against the bad boy Raiders and the cheerleaders who looked like the girls your mom warned you about. The NFL world stopped when the Raiders or the Cowboys played. When it looked like the Raiders and Cowboys were destined to play in the Super Bowl in 1978, the Raiders were derailed by several key injuries and a little event called the Rob Lytle fumble in Denver in the AFC Championship game. When the Broncos won, the network and the nation groaned. They wanted to see Oakland v.s. Dallas. The Cowboys dominated Denver 27-10 in a boring Super Bowl. What might have been.

(below are the condensed highlights.  Click on the YouTube Icon on the bottom or double click on the video.  The NFL will only allow viewers to watch it on YouTube)

What Do the Raiders Have in Derek Carr:

Four years ago some of us said the truth about Derek Carr. He’s got a good arm, is accurate when not rushed, and is a good leader. He also has limitations that may not improve with time.   Even the melodramatic Chris Collinsworth said the same thing. He showed a shocking statistic that Carr’s QB rating was a whopping 60% less when he was rushed. He’s been that way since his Fresno St. days. I remember him literally imploding against USC. His psyche is a little fragile at times and he has to become more Brett Favre and Ken Stabler and less Bert Jones and Alex Smith. He needs to be a little more confident and borderline cocky but that isn’t in his makeup.

Even with the rules making breathing around a WR a penalty, the QB situation in the NFL is at an all time low. With this in mind, the Raiders are lucky to have Carr but they also have to realize he has limitations. Just look at the over-hyped Dak Prescott. He was the media darling last year but rarely did the game fall upon his shoulders. When they won though, he got the credit often. Cowboy fans fought with me online when I said how overrated he was. Well, with Ezekiel Elliott out for 6 weeks, the games were put on his shoulders and he failed. Even when they won, he struggled. People don’t think he’s elite anymore. It shows the Carr’s of the NFL world are very valuable.  When you ask people who want to get rid of Carr what their choice is to replace him, many shrug and say I don’t know.  One guy said just keep looking.  This is why “geniuses” in the social media world will never run an NFL team.

(below are the game stats)

http://www.espn.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=400951814

The Raiders Identity:

If I were the head coach or GM, I would go back to the Daryl Lamonica tapes and show Carr and the Raiders who they should be. The more things change the more they stay the same. This zone blocking scheme was created for a quick, fast OL and needs to be trashed yesterday. The Raiders ran for 122 yards last night with 47 of them coming from Carr’s scrambles. The Raiders are not a zone blocking team.

What they are is a huge, physical, bruising OL and they need to go back to being that. Collinsworth pointed out something I’ve been writing about all year. They have no offensive identity.

They need to go back to being a physical power rushing team that throws deep.   During their glory days, often the Raiders would throw deep on their first offensive play of the game just to let teams know that Warren Wells, or a Cliff Branch or a Tim Brown was going to beat them some time that day and they better not forget it. You send a message that you will throw deep at any time and from anywhere. In one year the Raiders were in the top 5 for rushing and passing. That’s balance.

Oakland needs that identity.  With a solid running game they now can use the play action pass and look downfield.  Carr can excel in that type of offense.  Carr is a solid B to B+ quarterback and in today’s game, those are getting harder to find.

I’d also tell Carr I could care less if you throw 4 interceptions. Stop worrying about reactions on social media, in the media itself, as well as perceptions and stupid stats. I want that ball going deep.  Use those speedy WR talents to the limits. No one respects the Raiders deep throws anymore and it’s obvious Carr is playing not to make a mistake. Carr has been lucky the last 3 weeks. He’s thrown 6 passes literally right in the hands of defenders who just dropped the balls.   He did it again last night with 2 more passes that defenders dropped which were thrown right at them.

It’s comical to have 3 super fast WR and not throw deep. And stop blaming everything on OC Todd Downing. I agree he’s not the answer but Carr wanted this guy as OC and the Raiders did it for Carr.

In regards to play calling, Carr can change the play any time he wants.   Even an average fan can see when the two safeties are crowding the line that you don’t go with a run play; you throw the ball. Unfortunately on a few occasions last night, again no audible was called. The QB is the coach on the field and Carr needs to be that. Right now sometimes he’s not.   Carr is the highest paid player in the NFL and the excuses have to stop and he needs to get to the next level.

Do you think John Elway, Brett Favre, or Ken Stabler ever worried about an interception or would ever let a play happen if they didn’t like it? Gunslingers in the NFL have one thing; a short memory; and a whole lot of wins. They are control freaks who play the game like they are playing chess.   Carr needs to have that mentality.   When he gets flustered he looks like Alex Smith at times, hoping something bad doesn’t happen.  Carr works hard and he’s a good NFL QB but if he wants to be very good he has to improve his control of games.

Were the Raiders a One Hit Wonder?:

No, but they also weren’t as good as their record last year. At 12-4 the Raiders played the second easiest schedule in the NFL; and 7 of those wins were last minute or even last second games.   They beat a lot of bad teams, with a lot of effort. This year they have the 2nd or third hardest schedule and it shows.   You can’t just get by against good teams. You have to beat them. The Raiders had improved last year but no where near as much as their record said they did.

Jims Jamz:

Teams have adjusted to the Raiders and now they have to adjust. OC Todd Downing will almost certainly be gone but Carr still has to evolve and improve. As Marshall Faulk said, you want the big boy money then you have to play like a big boy. Next year Carr will be 27 and in the prime of his career.  Many teams would love Carr but due to his huge salary and guaranteed money, he’s their quarterback for the present no matter what.  John Elway often had little talent around him and even without a consistent run game, he was one of the all time greats.  Derek Carr is not going to be at that level.  What he is though is a solid QB who struggles against a rush.  Not an uncommon problem but it means that a good running game is imperative to his success.

In reality the Raiders have a long way to go.   They still need a lot of help on defense and their drafts outside of the 2014 draft have been borderline train wrecks.   Until they have a consistent pass rush and can stop the run on a daily basis, it doesn’t matter who plays in the defensive backfield. And on offense the Raiders have to be tougher. Carr has to have more of a killer instinct and just let the ball go.   It’s hard to see that happen though with his personality. He needs to know you can be a good guy off the field but a different one on it.

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As Carr answers the last of the mundane and never ending questions of the media last night, he leaves with an obvious disappointment on his face. He looks forward to seeing his wife and kids I’m sure.   And when they are fast asleep he will still be awake and fumble over and over all night long in his head with the outcome always being the same. And with the next game being against a tough Philadelphia team in cold weather and a slight chance of snow on Christmas day, he’s gone to bed with better thoughts. The life of Derek Carr has it’s up’s and downs.

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“Final Oakland Raider Grades v.s. Arizona Cardinals; Week 7:”

SJM-RAIDERS-1013

Arizona Cardinals  24 (5-1)

Oakland Raiders  13 (0-6)

Quarterback:

Derek Carr had a so so game missing on a few passes that he should have hit.  He also had a couple of drops that hurt.  He was unable to hit many long passes as he did against San Diego.  His weakness in college was handling a pass rush and he had mixed reviews with the blitz happy Cardinals.  He was 16-28 for 173 yards and no TD’s or interceptions.  Arizona is near last in passing defense so this was disappointing.  I HATE the Raiders routes.  The middle so often is wide open and they don’t utilize it.  They have to get the tight end involved to help out Carr.

GRADE:  C+

Carr seemed reluctant to go down deep and when he did he either missed or the Raiders weren’t open.

Running Backs: 

Again, another team that is making the Raiders throw the ball.  For much of the game Arizona had 7-8 men on the block daring Oakland to throw.  They took away the running game and the Raiders were unable to take advantage of this.  McFadden was banged up, and the Raiders didn’t have the injured Marcel Reece which hurt them.  Maurice Jones-Drew wasn’t a factor.

Grade C

Arizona’s game plan was to take away the run and they did.  Unfortunately the Raiders were unable to hurt the Cardinals with the pass, which was disappointing.  The Raiders running backs blocked fairly well picking up the blitzes.

Offensive Line: 

They had a lot to deal with today with Arizona doing everything to rush the passer and take away the run.  Arizona blitzed on almost every play and the line overall did well protecting Carr.  With Arizona crowding the line there wasn’t much of a chance to run.  The Raiders line gave up only 1 sack.  Overall not a great game but they also didn’t get much help from their teammates.

Grade C+

They did a good job picking up the blitzes but the Raiders just didn’t have the passing game to win.

Wide Receivers: 

Andre Holmes had his weekly drop which is frustrating because he has so much talent.  He has to concentrate.  Brice Butler had a long 55 yard catch that needs to happen more.  James Jones is Carr’s favorite receiver.  He had 8 targets but caught only 4 for 35 yards.  The Raiders really had chances to go deep and they have to spread the field like they did against San Diego.

GRADE:  B

They had a few more drops and that can’t happen.  Butler and Holmes are inconsistent and Carr threw to the tight end twice all game.  The Raiders have to go to the tight end and utilize the middle of the field with slants as well instead of just fly patterns and deep outs.  I really hated some of the routes today, and the game plan overall.

Defensive Line:

If you take out Khalil Mack out of the DL equation, they really are non existent.  Lamarr Woodley got his weekly 1 tackle and the leading tackler on the DL was Pat Sims with 2.  They are too easily blocked and just aren’t getting to the quarterback.  The Cardinals ran for 123 yards and during two drives, the Raiders literally could not stop the run.

Grade:  D+

The Raiders DL is just not a factor and this has to be fixed this off season.  The Raiders have 5 sacks all year.  Detroit leads the NFL with 20.

Linebackers:

The linebackers played their best game of the year.  Khalil Mack had his best game by far with 11 tackles and 3 for loss.  He still doesn’t have a sack in 6 games and that is troubling.  He got beat twice on passes as well but overall, a very encouraging game.  Sio Moore had a controversial penalty but he also had a good game with 5 tackles with one being for a loss.  Miles Burris had 5 tackles but missed big time on a couple of runs including a touchdown run.

Grade B-

This unit has struggled big time in the past but they are getting healthier and it shows.  Not a bad game and it’s good to see Mack finally making a difference.

Defensive Backs:

These poor guys are playing their hearts out.  They are on an island due to the terrible Raiders pass rush and they are trying to hold their own.  TJ Carrie has his good moments and he has potential.  Usama Young and Charles Woodsen are taking a beating on running plays and they are having  to make too many tackles in the run game.

Grade C+ 

The Raiders struggled at times getting off the field on 3rd down and it killed them.  Several times Carson Palmer hit key passes for first downs.  These guys are not going to last long physically having to make so many plays.  Even though he’s healthy DJ Hayden is not a factor which should tell you something.

Coaching:

Greg Olsen encouraged me last week, but this week it was same old song, different dance.  The Raiders have to start using the middle of the field and start using the running backs and tight ends more.  The offense is too wide receiver heavy.  There are some routes that show the wide receivers just running down the field and I really don’t get it.  Carr needs safety valves for help.

Greg Olsen seemed to go away from throwing deep against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL.  The Cardinals were next to last in pass defense but the Raiders could not exploit it.  Arizona is using 3rd stringers so they have to blitz but the Raiders still could not shore up their passing game.

On defense, the Raiders just don’t have a good defensive line and they had another 1 sack game.  There just isn’t much of a scheme that you can use when your defensive front isn’t good.  The Raiders are next to last in sacks in the NFL with only 5 all year and their DL is probably the worst in the NFL.

Grade C

I felt the Raiders were too conservative.  They have to throw deep, if just to keep the defense honest.  Do a no huddle when you get a couple of completions, especially playing against the Cardinals who have a thin defensive line.  The Raiders are limited talent wise on defense, and I didn’t expect them to win, but this was a little disappointing.

Special Teams:

Sebastian Janikowski must really hate Marquette King.  Whenever he misses, King catches flack.  Matt Schaub now holds for Janikowski.  He was 2 for 2 for field goals and hit a 53 yard kick.

TJ Carrie is a good return man.  You wonder if it’s smart having him return though.  He is taking a beating at times trying to stop the run as a defensive back and you wonder how long he can last.  He did have a bone head play that looked like a punt hit him but the refs ruled it didn’t.

Marquette King was solid as ever punting.  Not a great day but he was solid.

Grade B-

Special teams didn’t play a huge factor in this game but the Raiders did a good job.

Next Opponent:  @ Cleveland Browns (3-3; last game, loss @ Jacksonville Jaguars 24-6)

Outlook:

This week was one of those games that the Raiders needed to show their fans that they are really back on the right track.  Unfortunately this loss really makes the mood dark in Oakland; again.  The Raiders are now 53-129.

In their next 4 games the Raiders will play at Cleveland and at Seattle, and then come home to Denver before flying to San Diego.  Not many teams have a tougher stretch.

The weather will be a typical cool, fall day in Cleveland with no rain and temperatures in the 50’s.

The Browns are very inconsistent with big wins at home over the Saints and the Steelers but they’ve also lost big to Jacksonville on the road.  They are playing much better at home than they are on the road.

Brian Hoyer had a terrible game against Jacksonville and so did the defense which gave up 183 yards rushing.

Look for the Browns to play much better at home.  This is a game the Raiders have to win.  From this point on the Raiders play one team that has a losing record, and the rest are at least @ .500.  The Raiders will also have games in Kansas City and Denver in mid to late December respectively so cold weather is ahead; maybe snow.

The nightmare continues and another high pick will probably be seen by the Raiders.  Hopefully the NFL will show mercy and hide defensive backs NFL combine 40 times to help the Raiders pick a good 1st round draft pick.