Oakland Raiders Film Room: Week 7 (ARI)

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Derek Carr

The biggest narrative about Derek Carr coming into the season was that he had a fantastic arm but struggled mightily against pressure. Sure, this is a fair statement, but we’ve already seen a lot of growth from Carr that is making the latter part of that narrative look increasingly inaccurate. We’ll start by addressing this statement looking at two plays. The second quarter 55 yard pass to Brice Butler and a third quarter pass to James Jones.

Credit: NFL Game Rewind

2 & 12, second quarter. Oakland runs play-action out of 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TEs, 3 WRs) and sends Carr on the bootleg to the left side for this pass. The offensive line blocks as though they’re running an outside zone play to the right side with the motioning WR Kenbrell Thompkins coming across the formation to help with the blocking. Arizona runs Cover 3 from nickel formation (3 DLs, 3 LBs, 5 DBs) biting on the play action. Arizona S Rashad Johnson stays home versus the run but gets caught focusing too hard on QB Derek Carr during the bootleg and WR Brice Butler gets behind him. Carr sees Butler, squares up, and throws an absolutely beautiful pass to hit Butler in stride downfield. The touch on this pass, especially with LB Alex Okafor barreling down on Carr, is elite NFL QB level. We’ve seen plenty of these passes from Carr in the last few weeks indicating this should be a strength of his for years to come.

Credit: NFL Game Rewind

On this 3rd & 10 play in the third quarter Derek Carr displays his improved ability to step up in the pocket with poise amidst pressure and still make the big play for the first down. Oakland is in 11 personnel again (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WRs) in a 3×1 look to the right side of the field. Arizona blitzes CB Jerraud Powers and LB Larry Foote out of their nickel sub-package (2 DL, 4 LB, 5 DBs) in Cover 1 Man/Man-free coverage (one deep safety, man coverage underneath). Oakland likes to run this fake verticals concept often and it works perfectly in this instance. They’ll send three receiver running deep routes with an outside WR usually breaking off for the comeback route at 12-15 yards. On this play, WR James Jones runs the comeback on the top of the image. RB Maurice Jones-Drew fails to pick up the blitzing Larry Foote, leaving Carr open to get creamed. Instead, Carr calmly steps up in the pocket, forcing the miss and hits James Jones just before the sideline for 13 yards and the big first down.