ALAMEDA — Derek Carr is getting sacked more now than any point in NFL career, likely more than his days as an amateur.
The Raiders quarterback was sacked five times in Sunday’s 30-16 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, bring his season total to 47. That’s a career high by a ton, with two more games to add to the tally.
Carr’s previous high was 31 in 2015, which isn’t too many at all. This year’s total ranks third in the NFL, and it’s an especially shocking number, considering how quick he gets rid of the football.
Add 22 quarterback hits to the 47 sacks, and Carr has taken quite a beating this season.
“I think he’s hanging in there,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “No question, I am sure he is sore. He knows he is carrying us right now on offense. That’s what a franchise quarterback is paid to do, but we are doing everything we can to support him, to try and put him in position to audible at the line of scrimmage, fix problems, and move the football and ultimately win games. He really has had us in position to win a lot of these games. It’s a credit to him.”
Carr isn’t one to criticize, let alone those who get zero credit for keeping him upright. He always was thankful for the offensive lines that now-former general manager Reggie McKenzie spent significant funds creating, with Donald Penn, Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson and a veteran right tackle.
Now the Raiders have rookies on both flanks and a full-on injury plague attacking both sides of Hudson.
Carr has been on the injury report once with an ankle injury, but he hasn’t missed a start. The quarterback has improved orchestrating Gruden’s system, and has stellar stats, though not enough wins to show for it.
It’s hard to blame the quarterback for the Raiders' struggles most weeks, especially with the talent base crumbling around him during Gruden’s tear down/rebuild.
“I think Derek has played great,” Gruden said. “Somebody told me he had 3,700 yards and 68 percent completions in 13 games. That’s astonishing. With three new guards, losing a right tackle, a featured back, three top receivers. The guy is a hell of a player. The guy is a great quarterback.
”We are very pleased and proud of what he has done. We know we got to get better around him, and that we will.”
The Raiders must add depth to their offensive front, developing young tackles Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker while importing veteran competition on the right. The receiver corps must be overhauled, with maybe some help a running back as well.
The goal is to finish this season strong, and prepare for a 2019 campaign where Carr should be the starting quarterback working his second year with Gruden.
“We’re going to finish the right way,” Carr said. “We have two more, and we’re going to bring it.”