Oakland Raiders Preseason Week 3: Winners and Losers

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August 30, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) passes the football against Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (97) during the first quarter in a preseason NFL football game at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Loser: Derek Carr

Carr, like Mack, is not fighting for a roster spot. He’s the undisputed starter for the Raiders and the leader of the offense, and nothing he did last night was going to change that. But if he wants to stay the undisputed starter of the Raiders, he can’t have too many games like he had last night when the team starts playing for real.

Carr was not abysmal, of course. Against a ferocious Arizona defense loaded with talent and known for it’s exotic personnel groupings, formations and blitz packages, Carr was however very pedestrian. He completed 18 of 34 passes for 213 yards, with no scores and a really ugly pick on his last throw of the night. The offense as a whole struggled to convert on third down, and could not run the ball whatsoever, complicating matters for Carr.

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  • Carr had some solid throws and looked very confident running the no-huddle offense. That said, he also threw some pretty ugly balls, sailing balls to high or too far for receivers who otherwise could have made the play. He also put one up high over the middle for Rod Streater than nearly got Streater injured on the play. He was harried by a pass rush that got even more intense after an injury to right tackle Menelik Watson, but he still could have done much better.

    The interception was by far the ugliest play of the night. The team was attempting to set up a screen play that was doomed from the start. Carr, rolling left, tried to get rid of the ball and rather than just launching it deep and out of play, tried to force something underneath. The ball was snagged easily and returned 80 yards for a score, the first Cardinals touchdown of the night.

    This game was a massive challenge for Carr. The Cardinals defense is one of the best in the league in terms of both talent and coaching, with a zany scheme and a dominating front. Hopefully Carr will go back to the film room and take away some lessons he can use this season to defeat a number of less talented units with less complex schemes.

    Next: Winner: Malcolm Smith