A car without brakes probably would be ticketed for the junkyard.
But the Raiders think that malady is far more fixable on their second-year safety, Johnathan Abram.
“John is one of those players who is truly all gas and no brakes,” defensive backs coach Jim O’Neil said. “In my experience in this league, it’s a lot easier to slow guys down than it is to speed them up. As he plays more and more, he’s going to understand those situations where he can take a shot or when he’s got to just come under control and secure a good tackle or come under control and keep leverage in coverage.”
The former first-round pick’s development has been hampered by an injury in his first NFL game that kept him out for the rest of the season, followed by an untraditional offseason in which players weren’t allowed to practice together at the facility with coaches.
O’Neil estimates Abram and his young teammates missed about 500 offseason reps they would have had in a normal year, a particularly damaging setback considering NFL players often make their biggest jump between their first and second seasons.
Abram still has made his presence felt even if he has made mistakes gauging his aggressiveness at times and has taken criticism for taking out teammates with friendly fire at times with the way he pursues the ball.
“Being only six games into his NFL career, I know skill players on the other side of the line of scrimmage are finding him presnap because they want to know where he is,” O’Neil said.
The veteran coach is excited to watch Abram, who has a highlight reel of big hits from his days at Mississippi State, continue to evolve.
O’Neil might be most excited about the attitude Abram brings to the secondary.
“He’s better than advertised,” he said. “I love him. He’s exactly what this team needed and exactly what this defense needed. We needed an alpha dog in the back end that’s going to make the middle of the field a scary place and fly around and be a relentless player.”
Derek Carr finally broke through with a great game in Kansas City in an upset victory Sunday after starting his career 0-6 at Arrowhead Stadium.
His performance was acknowledged with the FedEx Air Player of the Week award.
Carr threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns in the 40-32 win, good for a passer rating of 126.7. He turned in a league-best 92.2 QBR, completing 71 percent of his passes.
The seventh-year pro has 11 touchdowns and one interception this season, completing 73 percent of his throws on 8.2 yards per attempt.
Defensive end Carl Nassib played five snaps Sunday before leaving the game with a broken toe.
The Raiders have not placed him on injured reserve and have extra time to make a decision with the bye week this weekend.
Datone Jones and Chris Smith came up from the practice squad before Sunday’s game and were pressed into expanded roles in Nassib’s absence. The Raiders generated their most consistent pass rush of the season.
Raiders receiver Nelson Agholor has caught 10 of the 11 passes thrown his way, turning the catches into 185 yards and three touchdowns.
Those numbers translate to a perfect passer rating of 158.3 when targeted.
Agholor is the only player in the league to achieve a perfect passer rating of the 231 players who have been targeted at least eight times, according to a tweet from NFL on CBS.