LONDON – Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and offensive coordinator Greg Olson made it crystal clear they’d like Derek Carr to R-E-L-A-X sometimes in the pocket.
Both coaches expressed that Carr may be trying too hard times, resulting in negative plays. He has an NFL-high eight interceptions, including three thrown in the end zone.
This has been a hot topic after Carr threw a pick on first-and-goal from the 1-yard line against the Los Angeles Chargers last week, when he should’ve thrown it away and lived to fight another day.
Carr is adjusting to his fourth play-caller and third brand-new offensive scheme since starting the entire 2014 season as a rookie. Growth within a system takes time, especially in one this complex, one that requires careful decision making among many options.
There’s an inner gunslinger in Carr’s hard wiring, and it’s tough at times to quiet that impulse to make big plays in tight windows. If they go well, Carr’s a hero. They haven’t often enough of late, so he’s a goat.
Carr has admitted that he maybe trying to hard, that he’s pressing a bit.
Balancing aggressiveness with ball security a tough walk to be sure, one Carr is trying to navigate carefully. He has never had interception issues, but is just five away from matching his career high (13) with 11 games left.
“There’s a fine line, right?” Carr said. “I think back on games we’ve won through my career, and there are a lot of tight windows and risky throws you have to make. Sometimes you have to do certain things.
"Now, should you go [big] on first-and-goal from the goal line? No. I don’t need to it then. But there are times in the second half of games where you have to [push it]. My problem is that I want to win every play for my team. I always think the next play will turn things around for us. That’s where I can get in trouble. Studying those instances helps me evaluate whether I really needed to make the decisions I made. You have to be conscious during the game of the score and situation. There’s always the next play unless there’s not.”
Carr remains confident he’ll improve within Gruden’s system, and his interception percentage will decrease.
“I’m going to get this corrected,” Carr said. “The funny thing is, this hasn’t been a problem for me my whole life. For whatever reason it has come up this year, but we’ll get it right.”