Defenses getting to Derek Carr less than any QB not named Tom Brady

After a bit of a discouraging 1-2 start to the season, the Raiders are now in the midst of a rare and exciting winning streak and plenty of the credit belongs to the offensive line.

Not only are the Raiders starting to bully teams in the trenches with their running game, quarterback Derek Carr is also being protected better. In fact, an ESPN statistic this week showed that only Tom Brady has been contacted by defenders less frequently than Carr.

Courtesy: ESPN

In three wins this year (Denver, Indianapolis, and Chicago), Carr has only been sacked once and the one sack was Carr just being run out of bounds for no gain – which is technically considered a sack.

After taking 51 sacks in 2018, Carr is on pace for exactly half that amount this year. Certainly these are the kind of pockets Carr hasn’t seen a lot of since 2016 when he was sacked only 16 times.

Ben Fennell on Twitter

Derek Carr about to carve this league up if this is what his pockets look like

Not only are the Raiders blocking better, but they have become even more difficult to defend with Carr’s quick release. Through five games, Carr is delivering throws at an average of 2.52 seconds after the snap, according to Next Gen Stats. Cam Newton (2.37) leads the NFL in this stat and Kirk Cousins is at the bottom (3.07).

Run the ball well, complete passes at a high percentage, and don’t take negative plays. It’s the ‘Jon Gruden way’ and the Raiders have started to build an identity around Gruden’s brand of football over the last two weeks.

And if they can execute Gruden’s offensive plan with success against the Bears, they should be able to do it against just about anybody, right?

twitter: @raidersbeat