Grant’s Slants: Ups and Downs

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Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr

If there was any way for the Raiders to end their days in Oakland, this was not it. What could have been a bittersweet win very quickly turned into a bitter loss. Not only did the Raiders blow a fourth quarter lead in their last game in Oakland, but the loss made making the playoffs nearly impossible.

Derek Carr threw for 37 yards in the second half.

Carr ended the first half with an impressive 230 passing yards but finished the game with 267. This is not the first time the Raiders have noticed a downtick in production in the second half. In fact, since the Raiders Week 10 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers, the Raiders have scored a total of nine points in the second halves of their games.

Yes, NINE points. To make things worse, those nine points came in one game.

 The nine points, a touchdown (missed extra point) and a field goal came in garbage time where the Raiders were initially losing by 31 to the Chiefs. This feels as though it cannot be on the players entirely. In most games, Carr has looked reliable and competent in the first half but seems to come out with a completely different playstyle which, again, may not be his fault.

Drops continue to crush the Raiders.

What is it about wearing the Silver and Black that makes players drop passes? Tyrell Williams had a drop in the fourth quarter that could have allowed the clock to continue to drain. Keelan Doss dropped a pass that could have led to an easy first down. Drops not only kill momentum, but they kill Carr’s confidence, resulting in him primarily relying on Darren Waller, a strategy that is easy to predict.

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These losses are not coming due to subpar quarterback play.

 This significantly feels more like coaching mistakes or quarterback confidence. Time and time again, Carr comes out in the first half looking like a high tier quarterback. In the second half, the Raiders always appear to lean towards running and draining the clock, no matter the situation. There is a lot to be unfolded here but this appears to be a wild conundrum.

Derek Carr will be the quarterback next season in Las Vegas.

Yes, Carr has not played close to the level he brought in 2016. In fact, 2016 Derek Carr should be considered a flash in the pan. While 2016 Carr was not a flash in the pan, we must assume we will never get that quality of quarterback back. But in this season, Carr (other than a few games) has been, at the very least, average. Yes, he could be better, but he could be a lot worse. Mike Glennon is not the answer. Nathan Peterman almost definitely is not the answer. Perhaps a future draft pick is, but throwing a rookie quarterback into a high pressure situation like next season is not the answer. At the very least, expect Carr to play next season while training his replacement.

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