Aug 8, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) passes against the Minnesota Vikings in the third quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. Vikings win 10-6. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
3. Derek Carr
Derek Carr had his first NFL game action Friday night, and his performance is probably the most written-about and closely examined of any individual Raider player aside from maybe Khalil Mack. A detailed examination of his performance as a passer can be found here. Carr was 10 for 16 for 74 yards and a pick, and while his numbers were not particularly impressive and the interception was certainly disturbing, Carr gave Raider fans a lot of reason to have hope for his future.
The minute Carr stepped on to the field it was obvious that he knew his offense, or at least the piece of the offense that OC Greg Olson had put in place for him. While Matt Schaub was one for his first four passes of the game – and the one was a screen to Maurice Jones-Drew – Carr came out and completed his first four in a row. Carr moved guys around at the line of scrimmage. Carr checked into and out of things. Carr executed running plays properly. The one sack he did take, he took for a loss of less than a yard. He threw for three first downs while Schaub threw for none. He managed the game, and he did the little things well.
NFL Spin Zone
He did one thing very poorly: on the 12th play of a second-quarter drive in which he was 4-6 for 28 yards, he ran a naked bootleg left and threw a pass too high for backup fullback Jamize Olawale. Olawale leaped and extended but couldn’t haul in the pass, instead deflecting it up, and the pass was intercepted. While some of the fault does lie with Olawale’s failed attempt to catch the pass, the throw was poor. Had Carr placed the ball low and in front of Olawale, he could have caught it in stride for a 5-7 yard gain, but Carr hurried and threw the pass high, resulting in the pick.
Carr was drafted to eventually be the starting quarterback of the team, and many have hopes that he will develop into a franchise quarterback. Friday night, he showed flashes of his ability to manage a game and move an offense in an NFL game. He will likely be given more of the playbook to work with this Friday against Detroit at home, and it will be interesting to see his progression from week to week throughout the rest of the preseason. While it’s doubtful that he will supplant Matt Schaub as starter this year, there are certainly a lot of things to look forward to about the young quarterback.