The Raiders’ 0-3 record is cause for concern. And as is generally the case, the quarterback always shoulders his share of the blame for such a start.
Hence the collective finger-pointing directed at Derek Carr, who has struggled to find his rhythm despite having the best collection of weapons in his career, including Davante Adams, one of the NFL’s top receivers who was acquired from the Packers in the offseason.
Could part of the issue be that Carr is searching for the right balance in how he disperses the ball? That he doesn’t overdo it with Adams at the expense of others?
Former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky suggested Tuesday that might be the case. He implied that Carr might be going out of his way to not target Adams to get others involved.
Raiders coach Josh McDaniels rejected that idea.
“I don’t think anyone’s trying to do anything, other than trying to move the football and score points,” he said.
Carr targeted Adams 17 times in Week 1 against the Chargers. He’s thrown to him a total of 17 times in the other two games.
“The defense always tells you where to throw the ball,” Orlovsky said on ESPN’s “NFL Live.” ”The tape tells me it looks like Derek Carr is purposefully trying not to throw the ball to Davante Adams.”
Orlovsky’s comments caused quite a stir on social media, with some wondering if he was insinuating that Carr either has beef with Adams or that he was defying McDaniels by throwing to other players even though Adams was open.
Orlovsky cleared things up in a text Wednesday in which he wrote: “I don’t think it’s a malicious thing.
“I think it’s a spot where he’s trying not to focus on Davante too much — get others involved. Don’t force feed Davante Adams.”
Carr and Adams had a difference of opinion when Orlovsky’s comments were relayed to them.
“We’re only three games into us playing together again,” Carr said of his Fresno State teammate. “And it hasn’t been all bad.”
Said Adams: “People always have to break something down. At the end of the day, we’re losing these games by small margins. If we win those games, they’re not talking about that.”
And as both pointed out, when Adams’ targets decreased Sunday against the Titans, Mack Hollins had a career day with eight catches for 158 yards.
That wasn’t by design. It was Carr responding to the constant double teams on Adams by taking advantage of the favorable matchups they created for Hollins.
“For me to not want to throw it to (Adams) … I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that,” Carr said. “But I get what Dan’s trying to say. Everyone wants to see Davante get all the yards and catches. But if you flip him and Mack’s numbers, no one’s saying anything.”
Adams said his 17 targets in Week 1 were predicated on one-on-one opportunities. The 10 catches for 141 yards caught the attention of other teams.
“So now people are changing it up,” Adams said.
Everyone agrees that Carr and the Raiders are still in a transition period trying to implement Adams into the offense. And not necessarily for the reasons one would think.
“It has nothing to do with having too many guys that have had success,” Adams said. “It’s simply an adjustment to playing, for a lack of a better word, to playing with me. It’s a different type of coverage you’re going to get. Nobody gets played like I get played in the National Football League.”
In Orlovsky’s breakdown, he mentioned the success Adams had with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. But, as Adams pointed out, that success didn’t come immediately in the eight years they played together.
“We played professional ball together, Aaron and I, longer than me and Derek have,” Adams said. “And it was a little bit more gradual than what this was. We jumped straight into the fire.”
Who: Broncos at Raiders
When: 1:25 p.m. Sunday
Where: Allegiant Stadium
Radio: KRLV-AM (920), KOMP-FM (92.3)
Line: Raiders -3; total 45