Derek Carr is Holding the Football in the Pocket Longer Than at Any Point His Career

Derek Carr has been known around the league as a quarterback that prefers to unload the ball quickly and one of the criticisms that he has taken over the years is that he sometimes doesn’t let pass plays develop downfield.

That narrative, of course, has a little backstory.

In his rookie year (2014), Carr averaged 2.61 seconds in the pocket. During his career year in 2016 that number dropped to 2.52 seconds in the pocket. No one was complaining about his quick throws at the time, but defenses were taking note.

In 2017, Carr endured one of the most difficult years of his career. The Redskins laid out a blueprint of sorts to beat Carr and the Raiders in week 3 and the season never got back on track. Carr averaged 2.40 seconds in the pocket that year and the Raiders decided that a change at head coach was necessary to right the ship. Jon Gruden showed up in 2018 and his quick-hitting offense initially didn’t make a big impact on Carr’s approach in the pocket – at least not in term of how quickly he was delivering the ball. Carr averaged 2.48 seconds per drop back in Gruden’s first year.

But in the last two years under Gruden we’ve seen Carr spend more time surveying the field than at any point in his career. Carr averaged 2.76 seconds in the pocket in 2019 and this year he is up to 2.78 seconds through 10 games.

For what it’s worth, Carr (123.0 rating) is still lethal in the quick passing game as only Patrick Mahomes (123.5 rating) has a better quarterback rating this when unloading the ball in under 2.5 seconds. But the added dimension this year is that Carr is throwing deep more than ever and he’s making defenses pay for taking away underneath routes. His 120.7 rating on passes beyond 20 yards this year trails only two quarterbacks with at least 30 deep attempts (Aaron Rodgers and Kyler Murray).

Some of Carr’s recent success has to do with the additions of Henry Ruggs III and Nelson Agholor, but Carr also looks more comfortable than ever at extending plays. Combine his improved presence in the pocket with the fact that Carr has reached his third year in Gruden’s offense and the Raiders are starting to become a nightmare for teams to defend. He’s an MVP-caliber quarterback again and suddenly it’s not quite as cool to be blocked by Carr on Twitter.

The times… they are a changing.

twitter: @raidersbeat


1 thought on “Derek Carr is Holding the Football in the Pocket Longer Than at Any Point His Career

  1. Wow, you don’t say. When you Carr ball coppers were praising him for getting rid of the ball in .5 seconds in 2017, I told you he was playing like a pussy and was scared to get touched. And don’t give me the he didn’t have receivers crap because he had Cooper and Crabtree. Every year under Gruden he has held the ball longer and longer. This year he is playing even better than 2016, with no true #1 WR and is doing so by holding the ball longer than ever. You all were wrong to make excuses. Carr was broken after 2017 and Gruden performed a series of corrective surgeries and “Mr. Mayock” gave him an attitude adjustment.

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