Raiders quarterback Derek Carr recalled a sequence of plays during training camp in which he repeatedly threw the ball deep down the field.
“There were some days where we were taking shot after shot after shot and just seeing which ones we liked for the season,” Carr said.
Those drills, Carr said, were designed to show that “we have the ability to do that” if defenses make the deep pass a viable option.
Carr is in the midst of the best season of his career, producing career highs in completion percentage (72.0), passer rating (112.8) and QBR (80.6). He’s also averaging 7.3 air yards per attempt — a stat measuring how far the ball travels through the air — signalling more of a willingness to throw the ball deeper to speedsters like Henry Ruggs and Nelson Agholor. He averaged 6.6 air yards per attempt last season.
As a result, Carr is on pace to establish career highs in passing yardage, with 4,603, and touchdowns, 35. Ruggs is averaging 26.5 yards per reception and Agholor 19.5.
“It’s showing us the things that we can do,” Carr said. “We’re growing and we’re still trying to get that right. … Hopefully we’ll start hitting on all those.”
Staying off social
If defensive coordinator Paul Guenther was getting heckled by anonymous Twitter trolls this week after Sunday’s 45-20 loss to Tampa Bay, he certainly didn’t hear it. Er, read it.
Guenther said Thursday that he doesn’t have time to use social media.
Probably a good decision amid the defense’s struggles.
“I’m in here every morning. I stay here every night to try and put these guys in the best position to succeed,” Guenther said.
Defensive end David Irving signed with the Raiders last week but is still a work in progress, per Guenther. The 27-year-old hasn’t played since 2018 and is working on improving his conditioning.
Guenther isn’t sure when he’ll play.
“Whether it’s this Sunday, next Sunday or two Sundays from now, we’ll have to make that decision,” Guenther said. “He’ll be an asset for us. … He’s played a lot of good football in his career.”
Irving has 12.5 sacks in 37 career games.
Prepping for the weather
The forecast in Cleveland calls for precipitation and 28 mph winds. Should those inclement conditions arise, the Raiders will be ready.
Offensive coordinator Greg Olson said the team practiced with a wet football Thursday, prompting quarterbacks and wide receivers to use gloves tailored specifically for the rainy conditions they’ll likely see Sunday.
“Good day of that today,” Olson said, noting the offense will practice with a wet football again Friday.
Defensive linemen Maliek Collins (shoulder) and Carl Nassib (toe) were limited for the second consecutive day, while fellow defensive lineman Arden Key (foot) sat out the second consecutive day. Cornerback Keisean Nixon (groin), who missed Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, also practiced on a limited basis for the second straight day.
Offensive tackle Sam Young (knee) and wide receiver Bryan Edwards (foot/ankle) were limited participants, though Edwards is unlikely to play Sunday.
Safety Dallin Leavitt (ankle) was limited Wednesday but returned Thursday as a full participant.
For the Browns, star defensive end Myles Garrett (ankle) missed his second consecutive practice.