Raiders QB Derek Carr happy to take risks in preseason
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Derek Carr is a bit of a risk-taker by nature when it comes to playing quarterback in the NFL. He isn't afraid of throwing a ball into coverage if he thinks his receiver has a good chance of winning a one-on-one battle with the opposing defender.
While that approach sometimes frustrates quarterback coach Todd Downing and the rest of the coaching staff, he has their blessing to take some risks in the preseason and takes advantage of that.
''Sometimes I joke around a lot before, sometimes people are going to be mad at me for certain things in the preseason, you know?'' Carr said. ''Coach Downing always tells me, `It's a great opportunity to see what you can get away with.' It really is. I take that, I guess, really to heart and do it.''
Carr gets his next chance to see what he can get away with when the Raiders host the Tennessee Titans on Saturday in the third exhibition game that will serve as the final dress rehearsal for the season opener.
Carr and Oakland's first-team offense have not been particularly impressive the first two weeks, generating just two field goals in seven drives against Arizona and Green Bay.
Carr is just 12 for 20 for 82 yards with one interception on the kind of chancy pass he doesn't regret this time of year. Last week against Green Bay, Carr threw a deep pass to Amari Cooper that was intercepted.
''It's things like the preseason that you can have those moments where it's not a decision that's going to hurt us, but it's a decision like if it works, it's going to be a great thing for us,'' Carr said. ''If we can continue to build on that, you know, can that help us? And that's really all it is.''
Despite not putting up big numbers in the preseason, the Raiders are excited about the progress Carr is making in year three. He stepped in as a rookie and started all 16 games in a rough 2014. Oakland started that season 0-10 before winning three games and Carr averaged just 5.5 yards per attempt - the second-lowest mark in team history.
Carr took a big step forward last season when he threw for 32 touchdowns and 3,987 yards as Oakland improved to 7-9 behind an offense that was dynamic in the first half of the season before struggling late.
Now with a second year in coordinator Bill Musgrave's system and most of his skilled position players back, Carr is in even more command in 2016.
''So he's able to take it to the next level, take it to the graduate level from undergrad where he was last year and put his own spin on things,'' Musgrave said. ''He can solve the problems almost before the problems emerge there at the line of scrimmage. ... We've definitely seen that day in and day out here in his second year.''
NOTES: S Reggie Nelson, who has not practiced this week, is expected to miss the game with an undisclosed injury. ... Del Rio said he plans to play his starters for the first half and possibly into the third quarter. ... Undrafted rookie RB Jalen Richard, who has been impressive in practice, gets to play in a game for the first time after missing the past two weeks with an injury. Del Rio said he wants to see Richard and fellow rookie DeAndre Washington get some time with the first-team offensive line.
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