ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Through two preseason games in which he’s played slightly more than two quarters, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr’s numbers are downright bad.
Carr is clearly not happy about it. To a certain extent, however, he also expected it.
Entering his third NFL season and the second in offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave’s system, Carr is using the preseason to experiment with throws and plays that likely won’t be used in the regular season.
That might sound contrary to the normal theory of honing in on what works best in the preseason and tightening it up for when the games count.
The Raiders, though, want Carr to embrace the opportunity to test the boundaries of his skills.
“Sometimes people are going to be mad at me for certain things in the preseason but (quarterbacks coach Todd Downing) always tells me it’s a great opportunity to see what you can get away with,” Carr said Tuesday. “I take that really to heart and do it.”
In seven drives with Carr at quarterback, the Raiders have scored two field goals, punted four times and had one end on an interception.
While Carr has completed a modest 60 percent of his passes (12 of 20), he is averaging just 4.1 yards per pass attempt and has a quarterback rating of 48.3 that is by far the lowest among Oakland’s three quarterbacks.
On more than one occasion, Carr has forced throws into tight coverage. On others, he has put the ball up for grabs downfield while throwing off his back foot.
Carr’s longest completion in the two preseason games was a 22-yarder to wide receiver Michael Crabtree against the Arizona Cardinals.
“You know what it looks like when it looks good,” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said. “We work on fundamentals a lot. We want to be able to block people, shed blocks, tackle, throw it and catch it … some of the basic things that it’s really all about.”
Teams rarely reveal their regular-season strategies during the preseason. That figures to be the case more so this week when the Raiders host the Titans on Saturday night.
Oakland and Tennessee also play each other in the regular season on Sept. 25.
“Both sides I’m sure will hold a few things back,” Del Rio said. “You’re not going to show everything you want to do in the regular season in a preseason game.”
That means more experimenting from Carr.
“It’s not a decision that’s going to hurt us,” Carr said “It’s a decision, if it works, it’s going to be a great thing for us. If we can continue to build on that, can it help us? That’s really all it is.
“I try not to do it too much but obviously I will do it during the preseason. It’s a great opportunity and it’s a great time to do those things because when you hit Week 1 you’re not going to try something new. You’re just going to do what you’re supposed to do.”
Notes: Wide receiver Amari Cooper attended practice but did not participate. … Safety Reggie Nelson worked out on the side with a trainer.