ALAMEDA, Calif — It was 46 degrees on Thursday when the Raiders opened practice at their Bay Area headquarters. It wasn’t Kansas City cold, but chilly enough that most of the players dressed accordingly by adding some extra layers.
Derek Carr was not among them. In fact, the Raiders quarterback opted to go sleeveless in spite of the blustery conditions.
It was Carr’s way of preparing for the cold conditions the Raiders expect to face on Sunday in Kansas City, with gusty winds and temperatures in the 30s in the forecast.
But it was also a bit of a swipe at some of the criticism Carr has faced this week for his less-than-stellar track record in cold conditions. Carr is 0-4 with a 51 percent completion percentage and four interceptions when temperatures dip below 40 degrees. So people are naturally pointing that out given Carr’s shaky performance last week in cold, rainy New Jersey against the Jets and what awaits him against the Chiefs in Kansas City.
Carr’s former Raiders coach, Jack Del Rio, tweeted this week about Carr’s struggles while playing in the cold, prompting Carr to remind everyone on Wednesday that Del Rio was right there alongside him for a “couple” of those games and that football is a “team game.”
Carr was smiling when he said it. But it was obvious he didn’t appreciate Del Rio’s criticism.
On the other hand, the numbers are the numbers. As Del Rio said in his tweet, for the Raiders to have any chance to win in Kansas City, Carr needs to turn those numbers around. Part of that involves adapting better to the conditions, which might explain his choice of attire on Thursday.
It also involves his teammates, who need to play better around him, something that didn’t happen on Sunday against the Jets when Raiders receivers dropped four catchable passes. That too has been a topic of discussion this week, although Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said he won’t dwell on it.
“Sometimes the more you talk about something, the more it happens,” Gruden said. “We have good receivers. We have really good receivers that are getting better and better. Sunday was a setback, but I’m going to try to look at things positively. I’ve got a lot of confidence in our guys.”