The Raiders offense has been one of the NFL’s biggest disappointments in 2017. Last season the Raiders scored the seventh most points and racked up the sixth most yards; this year the Raiders rank 22nd and 19th in those two categories.
It has been a steep fall for Oakland. The shiny 12-4 record from last season has been replaced with a 6-7 mark that has the Raiders clinging to their playoff lives in week 15.
Most of the blame has fallen on new offensive coordinator Todd Downing, who made the step up from quarterbacks coach during the offseason. But Derek Carr isn’t bringing the hammer down on Downing.
“Sometimes we go out there and it’s great. Then sometimes we go out there and it’s crap,” Carr said. “That’s on us as players. We have to execute better.”
While Downing is not blame free, the players have not been good. The Raiders offensive line regressed to start the season, allowing more sacks through 13 games than they did in 16 last season. Plus the running game never took off due to Marshawn Lynch getting hit at the line of scrimmage repeatedly.
Amari Cooper has had a disaster season headlined by drops, which spread throughout the team. But Carr is ready to shoulder the criticism for his teammates.
“I’ll always say this, I’ve said it since I’ve been here, put it all on me because it all starts with me. I got to do better for our team and for our organization for us to win,” Carr said.
And Carr should be ready to take the blame. As unfair as it is, this is a quarterback league. Carr has been rewarded with the second largest contract in NFL history because of the emphasis put on the quarterback. So when his offense is struggling to score, he will receive the blame.
But Carr pointed out earlier this week that he and his teammates can do a lot more to be prepared for game days. He unintentionally shifted the blame off of himself.
“We have to be precise,” Carr said. “People just have to understand that if we need an extra rep, we need an extra. If we need to get things, we need to get things. But I think precision is key, especially in the passing game. Footwork, timing up with timing of routes. Consistency is something you want to see also. As long as we can go out there on the practice field and be consistent in the timing of things and how all that stuff goes. We know how to throw the ball. We know how to catch it. We know how to run the ball. We know how to block. Now we just have to do those things better and more consistent. It always comes down to fundamentals of footwork and all those kinds of timing kind of things.”
Fundamentals are not a part of the game that should be stressed in week 15. Those should be taken care of prior to the season starting. But here we are, with one of the highest paid offenses in the NFL, still waiting on the Raiders to get their footwork and timing right.
The Raiders rewarded Carr after a breakout third year, after he and the Raiders improved each season. But 2017 has seen major regression in Oakland. Barring a miracle stretch run by the Raiders, 2018 might be a prove it season for the Derek Carr era.
Tyler Bischoff hosts Coaches Corner on AM 720 KDWN Monday through Friday at 6:00 pm.