Carr had the Raiders humming last year, averaging 27.3 points per game while sitting atop the AFC West, and then he broke his right fibula in Week 16 and the team's Super Bowl hopes broke with it. A loss in Week 17 cost Oakland the division title, and a wild-card loss the next week ended the season, with the team totaling 21 points in those games. A second-round pick in 2014, Carr took another step in his development last year, posting a 1.1 percent interception rate (4th) and a career-high 111.5 passer rating on attempts over 20 yards (8th). He showed his maturation in leading seven late-game comebacks. His 18th-ranked YPA needs work, as does his 56.8 third-down completion rate (25th), but the Raiders are confident he can take another step this season under new offensive coordinator Todd Downing, the former quarterbacks coach who replaced Bill Musgrave. Downing plans to give Carr more autonomy in the offense and to use more no-huddle behind one of the league's best offensive lines. The Raiders added another receiving weapon at tight end in Jared Cook, and they believe Marshawn Lynch can come out of retirement to help provide a viable running game that keeps defenses honest. Carr, who participated in offseason workouts and is expected to be ready for training camp, appears poised for his best season yet.
Carr took a big step forward in his second season in the NFL as the additions of receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree allowed the Raiders' passing game to blossom. An athletic pocket passer, Carr doesn't have ideal size and possesses just OK arm strength, but he's done a good job of limiting mistakes and making smart decisions, despite coming out of Fresno State with a reputation for being something of a gunslinger. He also showed huge improvement on deep passes in 2015, as his QB rating rose from 59.3 to 107.9 (third in the league behind Russell Wilson and Andy Dalton) on passes longer than 15 yards. His 7.0 YPA was mediocre, however, putting him in thecompany of quarterbacks like Ryan Fitzpatrick and Sam Bradford. He also had seven of his 13 INTs in the final five weeks of the season, as well as his only two games with a sub-50 percent completion rate — a sign that perhaps the league was catching on to offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's scheme. There's still a lot to like with Carr, especially as Cooper continues hisown development, but despite his big TD total in 2015 he still has a ways to go before joining the upper tier of NFL quarterbacks.
Carr earned the starting job in training camp last year and battled through an at times frustrating, though promising, rookie season. His counting stats were decent enough for a first-year quarterback, but he was incredibly inefficient, finishing 30th in completion percentage and last in YPA among 33 qualified passers. Carr was often too quick to check down — he ranked third in attempts of 10 yards or less (and the two quarterbacks with more, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan, were first and second in total attempts) — but that was partly because he lacked downfield playmakers. Carr attempted 55 passes of 21-plus yards (7th) but completed just 14 (25.5 percent). The running game was of little use as the Raiders were on pace to break the NFL record for fewest rushing yards in a 16-game season until Latavius Murray saved them from embarrassment late in the year. With Darren McFadden out of the way, Murray, who averaged 5.2 YPC, should make defenses respect the running game this season. And Carr should have more weapons after the Raiders rebuilt their receiving corps, notably nabbing the draft's top wideout in Amari Cooper. The team also signed veteran receiver Michael Crabtree, giving Carr starting wideouts who are much better than the complementary pieces he threw to last season. What's more, new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave plans to run an up-tempo offense similar to what he used last season as quarterbacks coach for Chip Kelly's Eagles.
Although the Raiders selected Carr 36th overall in the draft, it doesn't appear that they have any intention of playing him as a rookie. General manager Reggie McKenzie traded for former Houston starter Matt Schaub in the offseason and gave him a two-year, $13.5 million deal with $8 million guaranteed, so Carr won't have a real chance to compete for a starting role. If Schaub gets hurt or the Raiders give up on their meager playoff hopes, however, Carr might be worth a glance as a QB2. He has a very powerful arm and underrated running ability with 4.69 speed.