Gruden, Raiders Coaches Impressed by Derek Carr In Week One

After a spring and summer of constant rumors around Jon Gruden and Derek Carr, it was easy to find yourself wondering what Gruden really thought (and thinks) of his quarterback.

According to The Athletic’s John Middlekauff, Gruden and the coaches love Carr, but want to see him start putting it together more on Sundays – which is exactly what we saw in week one (albeit it happened on a Monday).

“Talking to people around Jon Gruden, his feelings about his quarterback were pretty simple,” Middlekauff wrote on Friday in The Athletic. “Gruden and his coaches love Carr on Monday through Saturday, but they want to see him let it rip more on game days. Gruden even talked about that during training camp — it’s time to throw deep. And that’s exactly what Carr did in Week one.”

Certainly Carr (PFF’s highest graded quarterback in week one) looked more comfortable on Sunday and some of that probably comes from a better understanding of Gruden’s offense in year two, but it’s worth noting that Gruden also understood that the offensive personnel around Carr needed an overhaul – which is why Josh Jacobs, Trent Brown, and a host of receivers were added in the offseason.

Another national insider, NFL Network’s Jim Trotter, talked about the aspect of Carr’s game that most impressed the Raider coaches on Monday. Trotter said that it wasn’t necessarily the throws or the accuracy that stood out, but it was the improved footwork and mobility that Carr demonstrated on two specific plays.

Jim Trotter on Twitter

A point of emphasis for Carr entering the season was creating more plays when original call breaks down. In the past, Carr might have taken a sack or thrown the ball away. But vs Broncos, he made positive gains in both those plays.

One of the plays Trotter was talking about is shown below. Carr’s footwork and confidence is back and, by the way, did you notice his receivers holding onto the ball? That’s a relatively new concept the Raiders seem to be implementing this year.

Kris Wysong on Twitter

Look at DC avoiding the rush and finding Renfrow on third-down. You love to see it. #RaiderNation

The Raiders put up 24 points on Monday night against the Broncos, but they will almost certainly need to score more to keep up with Kansas City’s high-powered offense this week.

Also, Carr is 2-8 in his career against the Chiefs. This weekend, as Kansas City comes to town a little banged up, should offer a perfect opportunity for Derek to balance those numbers a little. As for the coaches, who were so pleased with Carr last week, they (well, really just Gruden) would be wise to avoid getting too conservative if the Raiders jump out to a lead on Sunday.

twitter: @raidersbeat