As Derek Carr sets the pace for a second consecutive 4000 yard season, a strange pattern has begun to form. Yes, Carr has thrown for a total of 276 yards in the last two games, but that is not the pattern that needs attention (considering the wind in the Cleveland Browns game and the slower tempo of the Los Angeles Chargers game). The increasingly, yet still at a moderate level, concerning pattern does concern Carr, however.
Monster QB Year
In the 2020 season, Carr averages 22 completions and 35 attempts per game. Yet, the Raiders’ first-round pick and first receiver drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft sees three targets (8 percent of Carr’s total targets) and a little over one completion (7 percent of Carr’s completions) per game.
No Return on Investment
Eight percent of Carr’s total stats remain excruciatingly low. Yes, a leg injury hampered Ruggs early in the season, but these stats do not fabricate the truth: there is a missed connection between Carr and Ruggs. The Raiders spent a valuable pick on him, the fastest receiver in the combine, it has been strange to watch Carr deliver deep passes to someone else.
While Ruggs was the first receiver selected, his stats do not exactly match his draft stock yet. In fact, Ceedee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Justin Jefferson, and Brandon Aiyuk averaged higher targets, completions, and yards per game than Ruggs. Although Carr established connections with Nelson Agholor and Darren Waller, no reason exists for him to be overlooked as much as he has.
Ruggs’ best game came against the Kansas City Chiefs. He snagged two receptions for 118 yards, with one catch being a 72-yard touchdown. However, Carr targets Agholor on throws that should be meant for Ruggs, deep bombs. Agholor obviously deserves respect for his career rebound. Yet, targets should also exist for Ruggs
Is he struggling with the transition? While this is obviously extreme, the Raiders did not draft Ruggs to be a distraction. They need to ensure that he sees ample targets, in order to make plays.
Ruggs’ fellow rookies are starting to rightfully develop a hunger for more and more targets, and Ruggs is designed as a deep threat instead of a target hog, while he sits at a disappointingly low average of targets and yards (36.7) per game. With eight games remaining, the Las Vegas Raiders need to incorporate Henry Ruggs into the offense.