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Jon Gruden Defends Derek Carr, Says Antonio Brown's Departure Impacted Offense

The Raiders' offense has stalled the last two weeks, getting outscored 62–14 since Week 2.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden is standing by quarterback Derek Carr despite the offense's recent struggles.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Gruden defended Carr while acknowledging that the departure of Antonio Brown two days before the season opener is still affecting his offense.

"It's caused us a little bit of, re-thinking," Gruden said, per ESPN. "When you lose your starting 'Z,' who arguably is a great player, I don't think anyone's going to dispute that, you have to replace him. And we're making an effort to move Tyrell (Williams) around, we're bringing on some younger guys. J.J. Nelson also got hurt, don't forget that. He was hurt. Dwayne Harris got hurt, so we've had some multiple things to deal with and we're dealing with them."

The Raiders released Brown in early September after a series of incidents in the offseason. Brown was signed by the Patriots on Sept. 9 but only played one game with the team before he was cut following the announcement of an NFL investigation regarding alleged harassment and intimidation.

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Carr finished Sunday's 34–14 loss to the Vikings 27-of-34 passing for 242 yards with two touchdown passes, an interception and was sacked four times. The sixth-year quarterback also admitted that being without Brown has presented the offense with challenges, particularly when it comes to Williams's role.

"It's definitely different," Carr said. "[Williams's] got to run some different cuts; he's got to run some different routes. He's got to do a lot more for us than originally that was planned, right? We had a plan of two guys sharing a certain load. And now we've got him, J.J.'s back from his injury, we've got (recently-acquired receiver) Trevor (Davis), we've got Hunter (Renfrow). We're trying to figure out what's the perfect way to do it. We've got three really good tight ends also, with our running backs."

The Raiders play the Colts on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.