ALAMEDA – Jon Gruden and Derek Carr had a long meeting Tuesday at the Raiders training complex. Head coach and quarterback come together all the time in season to discuss game plans and opposing personnel and matter relevant to the next contest.
This bye week allows for greater reflection, and Gruden and Carr took full advantage before Raiders players were given extended time off.
Coaches and quarterbacks are tied to wins more than anyone else. The Raiders are 1-5. That's a disaster for both, even with mitigating circumstances.
Carr has performed in well in earlier games, but lacked a finisher's touch. He has been under siege during consecutive blowout losses, unable to handle intense pressure.
Bottom line, however, is all that matters.
"I had a long meeting today with Derek," Gruden said in a Tuesday press conference. "The results, they need to improve. I know that. He's the strength of this football team. We're going to get him to play better. He's on my watch. I said it when I got here: if he doesn't play better, I've failed."
Derek Carr has completed 71.7 percent of his passes for 1,783 yards – that's 7.7 yards per attempt -- for seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. He has been sacked 17 times.
Carr is on pace to set career marks in passing yards and yards per attempt. He's on pace to career worst marks in touchdowns and interceptions and sacks taken.
While Carr wasn't Gruden's draft pick, the Raiders head coach has gone out of his way several times to practice the quarterback's talent, football smarts and work ethic.
"This guy is a good player that can be great," Gruden said. "We've got to protect him better, so we can really see what he can do. We've got to protect him better, obviously. If we do that, I think he'll showcase what he can do. He was 29-32 at Denver, threw for 450 yards. He came back to beat Cleveland. There is a lot to work with there. I'm excited about it."
Carr is trying to work well within Gruden's system. He has been alternately criticized for playing it too safe or taking unnecessary risk, for trying too hard to make big plays.
Carr tries to ignore praise and outside criticism, but he isn't deaf. He knows what's being said here, and he understands this roster in particular is completely dependent on him to win games.
Carr is trying to follow Gruden's guidelines and work well within the system. He hasn't mastered it yet – it has only been six games, after all – but will continue to plug away and learn even during tough times.
"I listen to my coaches," Carr said. "(Gruden) tells me, ‘You did this good, you did that good. Now do this better, do that better.' That's what I do, no matter what, whether we win 12 games or we sit here 1-and-whatever. We don't change, and I know that our leaders don't, either."