NAPA — The Raiders hold their 11th full practice Thursday heading in to their preseason opener.
Other than a walk-through on Friday, it will be the last time on the field before they visit the Cardinals in Arizona Saturday night.
Three things to watch:
1: Derek Carr’s passing accuracy: For all the good things Carr did last season, his completion percentage of 63.8 (357 of 560) was strictly middle of the road.
There were 12 quarterbacks who threw more than 450 passes that were better, starting with Sam Bradford (71.6), followed by Drew Brees (70.0), Matt Ryan (69.9), Dak Prescott (67.8), Tom Brady (67.4), Alex Smith (67.1), Ryan Tannehill (67.1), Kirk Cousins (67.0), Aaron Rodgers (65.7), Matt Stafford (65.3), Russell Wilson (64.7) and Ben Roethlisberger (64.4).
Carr has had an excellent camp but had two interceptions and misfired on some throws Wednesday, including one that was run back for a touchdown by TJ Carrie to end practice.
Two things must be noted — Carr’s passing percentage in 2016 was hurt by drops, and from the moment his right pinky finger was broken in Week 12, his passing percentage plummeted from 68.5 percent at the time of the injury to 55.8 percent the rest of the season.
The fact that he played and produced during that span validated the money the Raiders paid out during the offseason.
So the accuracy rate, while not a huge problem, is something Carr and offensive coordinator Todd Downing are seeking to refine in hopes of a 70 percent of better rate in 2017. No sense in not shooting for the top. During practice, Carr wants it at 90 percent and above. Both are working toward that end in the way they evaluate practice performance.
Hey, when you’re the highest paid quarterback in the NFL, there’s always something to shoot for.
Rather than a straight percentage, Downing awards two points for perfect placement, an ideal throw away from the defender that leaves the receiver with the chance to run after the catch. A ball that is caught, but could have been better, gets a single point. A zero is an uncatchable ball that is the fault of the quarterback.
“(It’s) decision-making, accuracy, just giving guys catchable balls,” Carr said. “It’s not throwing a heater and bouncing off a running back’s chest, or throwing it too high. It’s knowing the game and who can do what. That takes time. We have the accuracy percentage we go off of, and I want to make sure that number is always going up.
“That comes from timing, accuracy, all those things.”
The good news is that Carr said his numbers are going in the right direction.
“The percentage I’ve progressed from last year to this year is awesome and I always want to stay on that trend,” Carr said.
2. Who won’t play against the Cardinals? Coach Jack Del Rio said Tuesday he wouldn’t be ready to talk about who would play and who will sit in the preseason opener. He’s more likely to part with that information Thursday during his last media session heading in to the game.
Carr said he hasn’t been told either way.
“I don’t know, they haven’t talked to us about it,” Carr said. “That’s up to the coaches. I hope I’m out there. We’ll see.”
If Carr does play, it won’t be for long and he might not even throw a pass. Other players who are likely to take a seat based on practice time of late include defensive end Khalil Mack and wide receiver Amari Cooper.
Marshawn Lynch’s workload in camp has been such that he might get a few plays, but probably nothing more.
3. Can Shilique Calhoun break through?: A third-round pick a year ago, Calhoun played in 10 games but made little impact with five tackles and three assists with no sacks before missing the last six games with a knee injury.
Having played at 250 pounds, Calhoun got up to 265 in the off-season, is now down to 259 and said he’s in better shape than ever.
Besides the physical improvement Calhoun said he feels mentally prepared to play both the strong side position, where he backs up Bruce Irvin, and the “Leo” position which is usually a smaller rush end.
“I felt I went out and competed, but the biggest thing is understanding the defense and I don’t know if I understood it completely,” Calhoun said. “At this point, I feel I understand the defense, where I fit in.”
Calhoun has tapped in to both Irvin and Mack to absorb as much information as he can.
“You’re not going to always do it the exact same way but you can take little pieces of their game and add them to yours,” Calhoun said.
All Credit Goes To This Website: Source link