In his jump to Year 3, Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr learned how to use that big arm of his. He didn’t do it much in 2016 but when he did, the results were great, among the best in the NFL. According Pro Football Focus in 2016, he had one of the lowest deep-ball attempt percentages but ranked highly in accuracy.
Only 8.4 percent of his throws went beyond 20 yards downfield but Carr was fourth in adjusted completion percentage at 59.3. He also tied for fourth in deep TD passes with five of them. That high percentage makes the Raiders want to play legendary owner Al Davis’ pressure football over percentage football more.
Carr said a post minicamp practice press conference:
“That’s something that we really want to grow at because you hit on a couple of those deep balls, there’s a could of times we’ve hit them early in games and it gets in not only the player’s head that’s guarding them but the coach’s head. ‘Do you want to leave him on that island? What do you want to do and then, when they do, what are you going to do?
“Are they going to play hard over the top? And then you get everything else working. Working on that deep ball is always important to me and Coop [Amari Cooper] you know, something that we work very hard at and want to continue to hit a lot of those in the games.”
In 2016 Cooper had a deep-ball catch rate to 61.1 to lead the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. His QB had a perfect QB rating of 158.3 and corner routes and 122 on go routes so things clicked. But to go up top like that more often, the Raiders need more than Cooper to stretch the defense.
Defenses will be weary of him so expect him to see plenty of help over the top in 2017. But you have another deep threat, opposing defenses will have a time picking who they want to help on more. That’s where Cordarrelle Patterson, who’s now in Raider Nation to reclaim his career, comes in.
The Minnesota Vikings’ 2013 1st-round pick is an elite KR but so far hasn’t worked out as a WR. Much of that is because the Vikings haven’t had a QB that can take advantage of his great speed. Coaches and players alike have been singing Patterson’s praises as RB/PR Jalen Richard said at a post minicamp practice:
“Awe man, he’s fast! Like he’s fast! He’s a fast guy, smart and he’s a hard worker.”
He is most known for his speed as Next Gen Stats always among the top players in mph. Of course, Patterson will get a chance to do more of that as a KR plus a little more as a WR for the Raiders. And he’s excited to play with a QB like Carr, telling reporters at a post minicamp practices press conference:
“I’ve been watching him for a long time and he’s one of the greats. To get the chance to play with Derek Carr, it’s an honor. It’s and honor to be here, you know. Like I said, ‘He’s a great quarterback.’ so I’m just happy to be here.”
Reports out of minicamp have Patterson catching a deep balls in each of the first couple of days. His reputation as a speedster already proceeds him so opposing defense will be on the look-0ut. Between Patterson and Cooper, opposing safeties will have both safeties over the top.
And if you give RB Marshawn Lynch a 7-man box, he’s going to make you pay.
Opposing defenses will have to pick their poison in 2017!
Just win, baby!