Carr is not the Raiders QB of the future:
He is not because saying that he is the QB of the future implies that he is not the QB of the present and after Thursday’s performance, he is clearly the best quarterback on the Raiders roster.
Carr was an extremely impressive 11 for 13 for 143 yards and 3 TDs in the game. Yes, this was a preseason game and yes, the Seahawks did not have their full starting contingent out in the game.
However, most of the Seahawks vaunted defense was playing at the beginning of the game and Carr was still able to march the Raiders offense down the field and score – he even targeted Pro Bowl corner back Richard Sherman several times and came out on top.
Now, it was not only Carr that made plays – the offensive line gave him much better protection than what Schaub has recently enjoyed for example and the receivers made some spectacular plays, too.
Most notably, Denarius Moore made a fantastic reception going against Sherman on the Raiders first drive, snagging a ball that was thrown behind him and bringing in the catch. Also of note, TE Mychal Rivera showed great concentration on a ball that was tipped and he made the adjustment to come down with the TD reception.
Plays like those were in short supply when Schaub was under center. It is likely not a coincidence – the team with Carr under center seemed to have substantially more energy than when Schaub is playing. Even when McGloin came into the game, the energy of the team slowed noticeably.
Carr has had a very solid preseason and his biggest game came at the best time – the success against the defending Super Bowl champions’ top-notch defense should carry true weight with the Raiders’ coaching staff.
Raiders’ head coach Dennis Allen consistently refers to “The Plan” when he’s talking about his quarterbacks. Carr’s success was so good, it should alter that plan, immediately. At this point, I expect Carr to be the Raiders’ starting quarterback next Sunday versus the Jets – making him the quarterback of the present, not the quarterback of the future.
Latavius Murray breaks out:
Murray, the second year running back out of Central Florida looked difficult to tackle as a runner, achieving 41 yards on 8 carries – a 5.1 yard per carry average. He also was able to get into the endzone for the first touchdown of his NFL career.
Like Carr, Murray was going against most of the Seattle starters in this game and he looked like he belonged in the NFL.
Murray also looked good as a kickoff returner. He took his first and only kickoff return up the field for a 38 yard gain and, again, looked strong and decisive running with the ball. His main competition at kickoff returner, George Atkinson III, isn’t likely to make the final squad so Murray looks fairly locked in as the teams’ starting kickoff returner.
All in all, it was a very productive night for the 2nd year pro.
The offensive line needs to get settled, soon:
Throughout this last weeks’ practices, Menelik Watson had been replaced by Khalif Barnes at right tackle and rookie Gabe Jackson had taken starter snaps at left guard. This arrangement continued into this weeks’ game and so it looked like perhaps the coaches had shaken up the first-team offensive line.
Not so, said Allen. He said that Watson had not lost his starting role, but was still dealing with an injury he sustained the week before. After the game, Allen said, “Menelik [Watson] has still been nursing a little bit of a hip flexor. We worked [with Barnes at RT] all week during practice and that was something that we wanted to look at the first part of this game.”
Gabe Jackson looked very good at left guard, with many of the big gains coming when the running back ran to the left side of the line. He should be a starter, there, sooner rather than later.
Watson and Barnes can each bring something to right tackle but Watson has not been too bad at right tackle throughout the preseason and his best football is still in front of him. The same cannot be said for Barnes, who continues to hold on to a roster spot but is no better than a serviceable option at this point.
While it may not be right away, look for Jackson and Watson to be the starters at left guard and right tackle, respectively, before too long – the Raiders are a team that is building for the future and those two players are set to factor heavily in that future.
Secondary remains a concern:
The Raiders were without their top cornerbacks, true, but the secondary was still a concern. Seahawks’ Russell Wilson and the first team offense were nearly perfect, marching down the field and easily scoring in their only series in the game.
The Raiders’ defense will need to get good pressure on the quarterback this season, because the secondary does not appear to be prepared to lock down receivers for any length of time. If the Raiders cannot pressure the opponent’s quarterback, the defense will likely give up a number of points to opponents.