Through two games of the 2016 NFL preseason, Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders has not been phenomenal. In fact, the entire starting offense has struggled. Running back Latavius Murray hasn’t shown the home-run potential he flashed against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2014, and they haven’t managed to score a single touchdown. Derek Carr is 12-20, but only for 82 yards and an interception. Fans have been highly critical of Carr for ignoring a few short passes. and opting to throw the ball deep instead.
Even though the majority of the Raider Nation feel like the results of these preseason games aren’t important, a vocal minority does.
Do the preseason struggles of the @raiders starters bother you?
— LWOS Raiders (@LWOS_Raiders) August 20, 2016
So, the big question becomes, should the Raider Nation be worried about Derek Carr’s preseason struggles? Are these struggles harbingers of things to come or just typical preseason blues?
Should Fans Be Worried About Derek Carr’s Preseason Struggles?
Tom Brady is widely considered one of the best quarterbacks in football, and in 2015, it was business as usual. Brady threw for 4,770 yards, 36 touchdowns, and only seven interceptions. This performance was good enough to earn him MVP consideration.
However, you wouldn’t have known that had you watched him in the preseason. In the preseason, he went 10-22, throwing for 107 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. He struggled and the New England Patriots didn’t look like themselves at all. Fortunately for fans of the Patriots, the preseason blues didn’t seem to hang over into September.
In fact, Carr’s preseason looks more like Peyton Manning‘s 2012 preseason than anything terrible. Manning threw for 343 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions. Iffy, inconsistent, and not what people would expect from one of the game’s best.
That year? Manning threw for 4,659 yards, 37 touchdowns, and 11 touchdowns while elevating the Denver Broncos to the level of the elites. Manning rebounded after missing the previous season with a neck injury. If Peyton Manning and Tom Brady having good seasons after rough scrimmages isn’t enough, what about Carr himself?
Last year, Derek Carr also struggled in the preseason. In all four games, Carr only amassed 334 yards and two interceptions. His completion percentage was actually six points worse last season. Carr had a miserable preseason that had some fans actually campaigning to start back-up Matt McGloin.
Of course, Carr would go on to have one of the very best passing seasons in Raiders history. His 32 touchdowns were the second most all-time and his 3,987 passing yards were third most all-time. The Raiders didn’t make the playoffs, but the 2015 Raiders were good enough to get the Raider Nation excited for 2016.
The preseason is not for fans. While it’s a guilty pleasure for most football fans, it’s meaningless to anyone without a clipboard. No coach worth his salt calls anything more complicated than the most vanilla schemes possible. They don’t want to give anything away, they just want to see what they have. And frankly, they’re not watching their starters. The veterans know what they’re doing, they’ve been there before. The coaches and scouts are more interested in the unknowns. They want to see how free agent acquisitions and rookies play against other NFL players.
Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders aren’t having the best preseason, but in all honesty, that doesn’t matter. Carr and the starters could go all preseason without scoring a touchdown and it wouldn’t matter at all. As long as the Silver and Black are ready to rumble when September rolls around, the Raider Nation have nothing to worry about.