Oakland Raiders at Indianapolis Colts: 3 things to watch
Attacking the Colts Downfield
At the start of the season, Jon Gruden gave the public go-ahead for Derek Carr to throw it deep, and “let it fly.” Last year, with limited weapons, it was assumed Gruden was fine with Carr consistently checking down. This season was supposed to be different, but through three games so far its beginning to look a lot like 2018.
The numbers back up the truth, as Carr’s average Intended Air Yards (the vertical distance of throws) has decreased each week, now bottom-five in the NFL. More concerning is that per ESPN stats, Carr has the fourth-lowest QB pressure rate, meaning his lack of taking shots deep isn’t for lack of protection. He’s either willing to check down, or getting skittish in the pocket.
Carr, simply put, has to take some shots down deep, and he has no excuse this week as the Raiders are facing a short-handed Colts secondary. Without safety Malik Hooker lurking, Oakland and Carr specifically have to take chances downfield. Get it to Darren Waller or Tyrell Williams, and at least allow them to make a play or potentially draw the pass interference.