Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was often criticized last year in his first season under head coach Jon Gruden for being too cautious and tossing too many checkdown passes.
Carr threw for over 4,000 passing yards for the first time in his career in 2018, and his 7.3 yards per attempt were a career high. The NFL is changing, however, and his yards per attempt ranked 20th out of 33 qualified quarterbacks.
Despite what fans might assume about Carr's style, he was ranked as Pro Football Focus' most accurate deep passer on targets of 20 yards and further last season. The signal-caller completed 52.3 percent of his deep passes.
#Raiders QB Derek Carr was the most accurate deep passer (targets 20+ yards downfield) in the NFL in 2018, and ranks 3rd in deep passing accuracy since 2016 🔽https://t.co/0V3cml9geL pic.twitter.com/vzw3hVNihj— PFF Las Vegas Raiders (@PFF_Raiders) June 1, 2019
In fact, in the past three seasons, two of the top-three highest single-season deep-passing accuracy rates belong to Carr. His 2018 season is second to only Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in 2016 (55.6 percent), and his own 2016 season (51.1 percent) ranks third overall.
That number should increase in Carr's second season under Gruden, too. Adding the likes of deep threats Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams should result in less dump-off to running backs and more chances to air it out.
The Raiders armed Carr with multiple offensive weapons in free agency and the NFL draft. Now we wait and see if Gruden will unleash his QB's best skill this season.