Raiders QB Derek Carr quiets doubts with historic accuracy vs. Broncos

Raiders QB Derek Carr quiets doubts with historic accuracy vs. Broncos

DENVER -- Derek Carr was at his best Sunday against the Denver Broncos. His best is pretty freaking good.

The Raiders quarterback was awesome all game, completing 29 of 32 passes for 288 yards and one touchdown at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. He’s the only quarterback in NFL history to complete 90 percent of his passes with more than 30 attempts, per ESPN.

Carr was decisive and accurate with his throws Sunday, and he led the Raiders offense well.

“I thought Derek Carr played great today,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “He’s a great player, I think he’s going to be an outstanding player. I look forward to the days ahead. Hopefully there are several (good ones).”

The coach and the quarterback didn’t revel in a job well done. The final score didn’t permit that. A tough 20-19 loss ruined the mood, though there were plenty of encouraging signs about the Raiders offense’s performance.

Carr moved the ball extremely well through the air and rarely let it touch the ground, but he said he didn’t feel any more locked-in than he recently has.

“I’m not going to lie to you, I have felt last week and this week like I have all offseason. There’s no being in a zone,” Carr said. “I’m just trying to run Coach Gruden’s plays to the best of my ability, the exact way he wants it done. … I wish I had something better for you, but I just feel like we are executing the way we should.”

Carr took some heat after throwing three interceptions in a loss to the Los Angeles Rams, where his decision-making was called into question. Carr said he didn’t listen to criticism on social media or in the press, and he shut that storyline down Sunday. He proved his decision-making is just fine, thank you, and he can push the ball downfield with pace when required.

“Derek was great,” said receiver Amari Cooper, who led the Raiders with 10 catches for 116 yards. “He was very accurate with the ball, and made a ton of plays.”

Leading his team to victory is the primary objective. Nay, the only one.

Carr didn’t check that box, but he's clearly growing within Gruden’s system. That ultimately should help the bottom line as the season continues.

Carr refuses to let results, personal or team-related, pull focus from the grind.

“We’re going to have days where I throw three picks or I’m going to throw [for] five touchdowns. I’ve done both,” Carr said. “We have to play level-headed and, as a team, stay together, push forward and grind this week in practice. There’s no other recipe for getting better. That’s how we have to do it. We need to learn as a team through this experience and, next time we’re in that spot, finish the game.”

Raiders QB Derek Carr appreciates Mark Davis’ vote confidence


Raiders QB Derek Carr appreciates Mark Davis’ vote confidence

ALAMEDA – Derek Carr can do no right these days. The Raiders quarterback either pushes the ball downfield in an unsafe manner or checks down so often playing it safe.

Such is life as the face of a franchise that can’t buy a win. Focus has honed on Carr’s every move this season after years sharing the spotlight with Khalil Mack and, to a lesser extent, Amari Cooper. Those guys have been traded, leaving Carr and the lightning rod for criticism among the players. His hefty paycheck doesn’t help matters much, as he struggles to score steadily and orchestrate Jon Grduen’s offense well.

Raiders owner Mark Davis recognizes this, and defended his quarterback in a Sunday interview with ESPN.

"Derek's taking a lot of s--- right now," Davis said. "He is the franchise quarterback right now. He doesn't have Amari Cooper. He lost (Martavis) Bryant to a knee injury today. Guys have been getting hurt. Who's he throwing to? Jordy Nelson and Seth Roberts, which are good guys. But they're not putting the fear of God in anybody. The tight end (Jared Cook) is playing his ass off. You look at the quarterback and he's playing behind a battered offensive line ... so I don't know what you can put on Derek and I don't think it's fair to put all the blame on him."

Davis is right. The Raiders offensive struggles are not all on Carr. The offensive line’s less reliable than any point in the last few seasons. The skill spots aren’t as strong, especially with Cooper gone and Marshawn Lynch on injured reserve.

Fan frustrations are largely taken out on Gruden, and the man making the most money. That’s Carr. The signal caller was thankful for the vote of confidence but was far more interested in giving his owner and Raider Nation what they really want.

“It just is what it is. It’s nice words,” Carr said Wednesday. “He’s just telling the truth, man. He’s not one to sugar coat things. It hasn’t been easy, but there’s no excuse. I still hold myself to a standard. Whether he calls me and tells me those things, I still say, ‘But I could’ve done this or this. I could keep doing this.’ He keeps having my back. He keeps telling what everyone keeps telling me inside (the building). I just go by what they say. For him to say that, it feels good.

It’s nice, but at the same time I just want to win. The words are nice and it means a lot. I don’t want to take anything away from that. But at the end of the day I wake up early, I work my tail off, grind myself to sleep until tonight because I just want to win. It feels good, but winning is definitely better.”


Raiders-Cardinals injury report: Justin Ellis still isn't practicing with team

Raiders-Cardinals injury report: Justin Ellis still isn't practicing with team

ALAMEDA – Justin Ellis was out on the field during Raiders practice, but the veteran defensive tackle was still working on the side with a trainer.

He hasn’t been designated to return off injured reserve yet as expected. His recovery from a foot injury sustained in the season opener needs more time to complete. He was eligible to start practice after Week 6, but wasn’t ready then and still isn’t now.

After a player is designated to return, he can practice for 21 days before being placed on the 53-man roster. A team could also choose to end his season if he’s not deemed ready. This makes it unlikely Ellis return to game action in the next few weeks.

Ellis would help a porous Raiders run defense, but just isn’t ready yet.

The Raiders also won’t have defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, who had his practice window close without being taken off the physically unable to perform list.

The Raiders are thin at receiver as well, with Martavis Bryant and Jordy Nelson sidelined with knee injuries.

Raiders practice report

Did not practice

WR Martavis Bryant (knee)
WR Jordy Nelson (knee)

Limited practice
CB Gareon Conley (groin)
LB Kyle Wilber (knee)
C Rodney Hudson (ankle)
LG Kelechi Osemele (knee)
CB Daryl Worley (shoulder)

Full practice
RG Gabe Jackson (pectoral)
OL Jon Feliciano (ribs)
LT Kolton Miller (knee/elbow)
WR Dwayne Harris (shoulder)
RB Doug Martin (hip)

Cardinals practice report

Did not practice
S Budda Baker (knee)
K Phil Dawson (hip)
WR Larry Fitzgerald (not injury related)
S Rudy Ford (heel)
DT Rodney Gunter (not injury related)
OL DJ Humphries (knee)
OL Mike Iupati (back)
DT Robert Nkemdiche (calf)
WR Chad Williams (ankle)

Limited practice
LB Josh Bynes (wrist)
DT Corey Peters (heel)
OL Jeremy Vujnovich (hamstring)