Raiders quarterback Derek Carr doesn’t back down from a challenge, especially if it’s from coach Jon Gruden and his coaching staff. Though Carr is in his eighth year as the starter for Las Vegas, he’s still trying to improve in specific areas after a career year in 2020.
When Gruden first returned to the Raiders for his second stint as coach, Carr focussed on off-script playmaking. Gruden is known for holding that skill in high regard, and he’s never shy about it when discussing quarterback play.
And Carr delivered, perhaps most clearly in last season’s win against the Browns in Cleveland. Now, Carr is looking to cinch up another area of his game. He fumbled the football 11 times last season, losing eight, which led the NFL. In fact, since Carr entered the league, he’s lost more fumbles than anyone with 31, per the AP.
Holding onto the football is definitely a coachable skill, and the Raiders have gone to work in training camp, aiming to give Carr as many simulated looks as possible. On Friday, the Raiders QB took to Twitter to have a little fun with the situation.
Can confirm 2 hands stayed on the football https://t.co/TnfkWR0Hd3
— Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb) August 7, 2021
Fumbles are a serious matter in the NFL, but hey, on a Friday in August, in the middle of training camp, it’s all about having fun as you grind away in the summertime heat.
Here’s some more insight from Carr on the matter, courtesy of The Athletic’s Vic Tafur. Carr said that he and the coaching staff have looked at every one of his fumbles and some are simply not avoidable. Others are, however.
“I know there are a good majority of them where I am like, ‘Bro, just get the ball out of your hand. Bro, hold on to the ball.’ There are some where people are hitting me and I am trying to do too much. I am trying to toss the ball with guys holding on to both my arms. It’s not from a lack of effort or want-to. I am trying to get it to somebody.
“All offseason, we repped it. You got eight people ripping my arms apart, slapping my hands and trying to rip the ball out of my hands as I am just naturally trying to go through a progression. It’s not just a drill. I am doing it with the same body posture that I would in a game. I am trying my best to do that better. I know that ball is everyone’s livelihood and whether it’s my fault or not, I am holding it.”
Carr went on to mention the process he went through to improve his off-script playmaking. He sees the same path ahead of him with his fumbles: practice, focus and improve.
It’s all part of the largest challenge that any quarterback can take on, and that’s leading the Raiders back to prominence under coach Gruden.
The rest of the Las Vegas roster has to help Carr, namely the defense, but the turnover tally can usually tell you who won the game, especially if the Raiders’ young defense faces multiple short fields due to turnovers. Throw in an unproven offensive line, and it’s obvious why Carr is laser focussed on the matter, even on a Friday night.