Oakland Raiders Film Room: Week 10 (DEN)

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Carr Cracks Under Pressure

The huge knock on Derek Carr from the moment the draft talk began was his weakness under pressure. For the most part, that drama has been overstated. Every quarterback is worse under pressure than they are with plenty of time. It is fair to say though that Carr’s play under pressure has been very inconsistent. Sometimes he’s very poised and maintains focus downfield, allowing himself the ability to make a solid play in a crumbling pocket. Sometimes he looks every bit as rattled and indecisive as his poor older brother, as evidenced by the heartbreaking and embarrassing shovel pass to Khalif Barnes.

Credit: NFL Game Rewind

Credit: NFL Game Rewind

3rd & 2, late second quarter. Oakland, from 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WRs) motions RB Maurice Jones-Drew to the outside left of the formation to create an empty backfield and a 3 x 2 look with a bunch formation on the right side running the snag concept and TE Mychal Rivera running the backside dig route. Denver once again employs a different special coverage nickel sub-package (3 DLs, 2 LBs, 6 DBs, SS TJ Ward at linebacker), running a hybrid Cover 2 (2 deep safeties, zone on 3 receiver side, man on two receiver side). Carr possibly made up his mind who to throw to before the play. He looks to the right, the snag concept, during his three step drop but completely fails to see how wide open WR Denarius Moore is on the play (Snag works wonderfully against Cover 2 Zone). Instead, he goes back to the 4″ height advantage TE Mychal Rivera has over Denver CB Bradley Roby. Rivera gets a lot of separation on his release, leading Carr to think he’ll be open, but this ends up working to Oakland’s disadvantage as Roby is intentionally playing low in coverage knowing he has safety help over the top. Carr feels the pocket collapse just as he starts to throw. Rivera isn’t open so Carr pulls back his arm, but with the pocket collapsing he forces it anyway and gives Roby a really easy interception.

While Carr looked bad against Denver it wasn’t actually his worst game of the season. Surely the second ranked team in defensive DVOA can make a rookie quarterback look bad, just like the number 1 ranked team in offensive and overall DVOA can make any most defenses look bad. Denver was all those things. Yet, despite it all there are some positives to be had from the young guys on the team. As the season comes to a close, with this incredibly difficult schedule, many of the positives of the future will start becoming apparent in the play of the young players on the team. While the performance of these young Raiders may not translate directly into wins this season, it absolutely will in the following years if they continue to grow on this same trajectory.

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