As much potential as the Derek Carr-Josh McDaniels pairing has in Las Vegas, the Raiders duo is off to a tough start.
That fact shouldn’t be a surprise to Raiders or NFL fans. Any so-called offensive mastermind is used to getting his or her way, while a Pro Bowl-level quarterback is much the same.
Working together to benefit the team doesn’t come naturally. Carr himself has gone through a number of head coaches of late, from Jon Gruden to Rich Bisaccia to now McDaniels.
Carr is used to doing things his way, but with McDaniels calling the plays, he must give his head coach some leeway. This led to some premeditated decisions last Sunday against the Chargers — an eventual defeat in which Carr threw three interceptions.
Raiders: Derek Carr learning to work with Josh McDaniels
“I got a lot of philosophies in my head and I’m trying to get rid of them all to make sure it’s only what Josh wants,” Carr said, via The Athletic. “I fought through that a little bit in OTAs and try to clean it up as we keep going. Our discussions from the last game, they were good, they were positive. And then the most important thing is that I do them today in practice.”
As McDaniels learns to trust Carr more, perhaps he will be more comfortable with his quarterback changing plays at the line of scrimmage. For now, though, that isn’t part of the gameplan. This is the first time in years Carr has had to prove himself at that level.
“I’m not thinking, ‘How many catches does he have, how many times have I thrown it to him?’ — I leave that to Josh,” Carr said. “I tell those guys, the targets and all that kind of stuff, go talk to Josh. I’m going to read it out exactly how he’s taught me, and I’m going to do my best to do it that way.”
In many ways, taking some of the heat off Carr is smart. But not allowing him to adjust at the line of scrimmage is micromanaging to an extreme degree.