Game Notebook: Oakland Raiders 18 St. Louis Rams 3

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August 14, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) and offensive line coach Mike Tice (back) celebrate after the Raiders scored a touchdown against the St. Louis Rams during the second quarter in a preseason NFL football game at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Carr Given Weapons, Chance to Breakout in 2015

Everyone was wondering if general manager Reggie McKenzie’s moves to bring in weapons for Derek Carr would be the key for an offense with a new offensive coordinator in Bill Musgrave to take the next step after the quarterback’s rookie season saw Carr struggle with not having enough talent around him to avoid the growing pains of being a young passer in the NFL. With that in mind, McKenzie was proactive during free agency and the draft, bringing in running backs as well as downfield weapons in Clive Walford, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree to fasttrack Carr’s chances of taking the next step as a quarterback in his second season.

On Friday it looked like those new weapons plus a year of experience from Carr could be the answer to an improved offense as based on their first preseason game the Raiders offense could be expected to be able to move the ball far better than they did in 2014. A strong running game and 6-9 passing for Carr moving the ball into Rams territory on the first team’s two drives during the first quarter against the Rams.

On a negative note both of those impressive drives ended on ill-fated passes, a 3rd and 2 deep shot to Michael Crabtree forcing a field goal attempt just out of the red zone before Carr got caught trying to force it to Amari Cooper in the endzone to leave points on the field. Expected mistakes that should be corrected before Week 1, but still plays that calmed down what would have been massive hype if the Raiders put up more than just three first team points.

We will see more from Carr this month that will provide a clearer indication of how his newfound weapons will impact his potential for the 2015 season, but the debut performance was encouraging even if it could be improved upon in scoring territory as the next step for the Raiders is to work on finishing drives before the regular season begins as they are on the right track when it comes to moving the ball with Carr under center so far.

Next: Game Notes: Norton Jr. Defense Dominant