Raiders

Instant Replay: Panthers 17, Raiders 6

newton_cam_panthers_black_heisman_pose_raiders.jpg

Instant Replay: Panthers 17, Raiders 6

BOX SCORE

CHARLOTTE -- The Raiders defense, for all intents and purposes showed up for the second game in a row.

The offense? Not so much. And really, it was playing down a man when quarterback Carson Palmer was knocked out of the game at about the 2-minute mark of the first quarter on a spear by Greg Hardy. Matt Leinart replaced Palmer, who was diagnosed with a rib injury, and the offense sputtered, with random signs of life.

But Oakland's red-zone issues continued.

Carolina 17, Raiders 6.

The Raiders last scored a touchdown on Dec. 6, with 5:36 to play against Denver.

Carolina quarterback Cam Newton passed for 170 yards, on 18-of-29 passing, with a touchdown and an interception (Raiders rookie linebacker Miles Burris' first of his career), while rushing for 60 yards on 12 carries.

East Coast woes continue: The Raiders' losing streak in games played in the Eastern Time Zone moved to 10 straight. In the skid, the Raiders have been outscored by a combined 332-16, losing by an average score of 33-16. And since Dec. 15, 2002, when Oakland lost in Miami, 23-17, the Raiders are now just 5-27 in games played in the Eastern Time Zone.

Third-and-one mishaps: It would seem to be the easiest of play calls, but for the Raiders, it spelled disaster. The first three times the Raiders faced a third-and-one, Darren McFadden lost five yards on a pitch, Carson Palmer was obliterated by Greg Hardy and a pass from Leinart to Marcel Reece lost two yards.

Missed calls: A blatant hold on Lamarr Houston allowed Cam Netwon to throw a 23-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter to Steve Smith. Then Newton kicking Tommy Kelly before Kelly retaliated and was thusly flagged was missed. And a personal foul on Miles Burris for a helmet-to-helmet hit on that same drive kept things alive for the Panthers.

"Icon" and "Entertainer" updates: Newton's kick of Kelly was at least the third time he took exception to a defensive player taking him down. Earlier, he had thrown quick jab-like punches at Miles Burris and MIke MItchell on separate plays. Later, in the fourth quarter, Newton was flagged when he ran into the referee as he attempted to taunt Mitchell.

Injuries…again: Besides Palmer, two other Raiders were knocked out of the game due to injury. Strong safety Tyvon Branch, who is dealing with an ankle injury, came out with a foot issue. And cornerback Phillip Adams, who has been concussed in two of the past three games, suffered a groin injury in the first half.

TP Time: Terrelle Pryor came on the field for three plays -- throwing a pass to Palmer and then taking the ensuing pass from Palmer for a 22-yard gain; running for a two-yard pickup inside the Panthers' 10-yard line; and hitting Marcel Reece for a five-yard pickup in the red zone.

Up next: The Raiders (4-11) end the season against the same team against whom they opened -- the San Diego Chargers (5-9). In the season opener, the Chargers beat the Raiders, 22-14, at the Coliseum, in a game in which the Raiders infamously lost their long-snapper Jon Condo to a concussion.

Carr admits back injury had an impact: 'I had to deal with it'

carr-injury-usatsi.jpg
USATSI

Carr admits back injury had an impact: 'I had to deal with it'

Derek Carr was asked several times during the 2017 season whether a Week 4 back injury impacted his throwing motion, his play, his ability to produce. The Raiders quarterback dismissed the inquiries each time, proclaiming full health.

That wasn’t the whole truth. Three transverse process fractures in his back did affect him. Carr didn’t admit that. He didn’t want to use injury as an excuse. His play, Carr figured, should stand on its own.

Now, with the 2017 season in the rearview, Carr was a bit more candid about his physical state.

“When you break three bones in your back, it doesn’t feel good,” Carr said in this week’s episode of the Raiders Insider Podcast (Subscribe right here). “I’m thankful God healed me to the point I could walk around and be able to practice. Injuries will never be something I talk about, especially during the season, but since it’s after the season, the (back issue) was one of those things that was there.”

Denver’s Adam Gotsis kneed Carr in the back during a third-quarter sack. The fractures occurred there, and removed Carr from that 16-10 loss. The original prognosis had Carr out 2-4 weeks. He missed but one game and never stopped to rest. He missed a Wedneday practice, was limited the rest of the week and was questionable for a game backup EJ Manuel ultimately played.

Carr pushed to get back in the lineup. He didn’t miss another game, but that doesn’t mean the back injury was behind him.

“I had to deal with it,” Carr said. “I had to do certain things to manage it, but I just didn’t talk about it. I didn’t want it to be an excuse. It was a want more than anything else. I didn’t want it to be a reason. I couldn’t let that be a reason why I couldn’t do A, B or C.”

Carr’s back wasn’t the sole reason for lackluster offensive output, but it played a part. The Raiders dealt with flux in play calling and scheme preference, especially in the run game. On-field struggles splintered the locker room some, and an ironclad confidence began to soften.

Carr stands three-plus weeks from last season’s end. Distance provides perspective, and Carr wishes he could’ve done something to pull his Raiders out of a tailspin.

“I’ve looked back at the season over the past couple weeks and wondered if I could have done something or said something or acted upon something at a certain time,” Carr said. “You’re always looking to get better. …

“I’ve looked back (at) the way things were handled, things that went down and said, ‘Man. I wish I could’ve had the knowledge I have now. I would go back and fix that.’ That’s how things work. You gain experience from every situation you go through and try to be better the next time.”

Carr excited to work with Gruden: 'I want him to be tough on me'

chucky-ap.jpg
AP

Carr excited to work with Gruden: 'I want him to be tough on me'

Jon Gruden has been interviewed several times since becoming Raiders head coach. Quarterback Derek Carr hasn’t listened to most of those sessions, and certainly doesn’t seek them out.

One landed in Carr’s inbox recently, and something Gruden said really resonated.

Gruden’s message, paraphrased: If Derek Carr is not successful, then I’ve failed as a coach.

There are two comments in that one. Gruden considers Carr extremely talented, and he’s taking responsibility for unlocking the quarterback's vast potential.

Gruden will be hands on in Carr’s development, with all the coaching intensity and fire and eyebrow raises that have become Gruden’s signature.

“He’s going to demand of me. He’s going to push me,” Carr said on this week’s episode of the Raiders Insider Podcast, which will drop Tuesday morning (Subcribe right here). “He’s going to make me be the best version of myself.”

Carr had a direct answer to skeptics wondering aloud whether he can thrive under Gruden’s particular coaching style.

“I want him to be tough on me,” Carr said. “For anyone who thinks I want him to be a different way has no clue about me or how I play football or how I prepare to play this game. I don’t need to tell stories about how I prepare or manage myself.

“(Jon) and I are going to get along great. I hope that he demands of me. I hope he’s hard on me. I don’t need to know he loves me. He has already told me that about 20 times. I appreciate that and we’ll be friends forever, but I know he’ll be demanding and tell me what I need to do. Let’s go fix problems that I have and let’s do what I need to do to win championships. Hopefully that will give people some insight and hopefully that’s the story that gets out, because that’s the truth.”

Carr met his new head coach briefly before his introductory press conference, but has known Gruden since filming the Gruden QB Camp segment back in 2014. They got along great then, and in each interaction since.

“We have so much more in common that people realize,” Carr said. “I think it would blow some people’s minds. Him and I are very similar in the way we go about our business and how we carry ourselves. It’s an exciting time.”

Carr’s excited to have some stability in his football life. The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback will start his fifth NFL season with his fourth head coach, fourth go-round with an offensive coordinator and third offensive scheme. Gruden signed a 10-year contract. OC Greg Olson signed a four-year pact. They’ll be here a while, and Carr’s excited about that.

“It’s going to be really nice,” Carr said. “To know Jon signed on for a 10 years and (Olson) signed on for a long time shows me a couple of things. No. 1: that they believe in me. I don’t think Coach Gruden would’ve quit his day job, which I’m thankful he did. To get (Olson) out of a good spot in L.A (with the Rams), shows that they believe in me and that’s awesome. And, No. 2: I’m going to have two people I can talk to in a different language for years to come. We can grow within the relationship, and hopefully we’ll all ride off together. It’s set up that way right now, and we have a lot of work to do to reach that point.”