Oakland Raiders offensive line keeping Derek Carr’s rookie season safe as possible


Oct 12, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) prepares to snap the ball against the San Diego Chargers during the first quarter at O.co Coliseum. The San Diego Chargers defeated the Oakland Raiders 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

When Derek Carr was named the Oakland Raiders Week One starter one of the narratives surrounding the rookie was the career path of his older brother in David as the former first overall pick crumbled behind a shaky offensive line on an expansion team when rushed to the field too early. Some experts and columnists felt that a similar fate would await Carr because of the Raiders poor record over the past two seasons and the exodus of Jared Veldheer, not respecting the moves by Reggie McKenzie to improve the team’s offensive line by depth acquisitions of veteran talent along with third round guard Gabe Jackson.

Those experts are looking dead wrong as after being guided by now interim head coach Tony Sparano the Oakland Raiders line has kept Derek Carr as safe as anyone could hope for in the NFL for the price tag Reggie McKenzie is paying his offensive line. Through five games Carr has been sacked just three times, and although he had an injury scare in Week 4 he hasn’t had much problems inside of the pocket compared to what people expected based on David Carr’s career as well as Derek’s performance in the USC bowl game where the Trojans rattled the second round pick to dip his draft stock.

Through 167 pass attempts Carr has been sacked just three times, which is 38 times fewer than the infamous rookie season of his older brother who went down early and often in his rookie season. Which makes it no surprise that Derek was able to put up four touchdown passes in his best game as an NFL quarterback on Sunday in a heartbreaking loss against the Chargers at home.

Carr has noticed what his offensive line has done for him so far, telling ESPN’s Bill Williamson that he appreciates his offensive line making sure that he doesn’t have to endure the same challenges that his older brother had to when Derek watched his rookie season with the Texans now over a decade ago.”

“Oh my goodness, I can’t enough good things about them,” Carr said to Williamson. “I watched a certain rookie quarterback with the same last name about 12 years ago, and I’m glad that it’s a little different now, because those guys play their tail off. These guys, they do a great job, they really do. They really care about keeping me clean and I appreciate that, I really do appreciate it.”

The younger Carr still lacks wins to stand out as a top offensive rookie this season, but for the most part the Raiders and their fans have been pleased with the potential shown as well as the game by game progression of their hopeful franchise quarterback who now has near upsets over the Patriots and Chargers under his belt. The next step will be finishing those games, something that his underrated offensive line has been helping him out on by keeping him away from getting sacked as much as possible. If that continues, the Raiders passing game could continue to grow even if the wins have yet to come.