The bye week came at a perfect time for Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who gets an extra week to let his injured left knee and ankle heal.
He hurt both on the same play while scrambling this past Sunday in a loss to the Dolphins in England.
At first it was believed the injuries might keep him off the field for a while, but Carr now says he plans to be back practicing at full strength next week and play vs. the Chargers on Oct. 12 at O.co Coliseum.
“Knowing myself, I’ll be ready,” he told reporters when asked if he’d play against San Diego. “That’s my answer, that’s my goal. I’ve just got to continue to work hard to get ready.”
When he does come back, Carr needs to continue to improve if his team expects to break out of its 10-game losing streak and 0-4 start that got head coach Dennis Allen replaced by Tony Sparano earlier this week.
So far, Carr has played like the promising rookie he is. He’s been athletic, shown a strong arm and good presence. He doesn’t seem to get easily rattled.
After four starts, he’s 84-of-133 (63.2 percent) for 734 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions. He’s been sacked three times – he’s done well at avoiding pressure or throwing the ball away – and rushed seven times for an average of 9.4 per carry.
But one weakness he’s going to have to work on is his play vs. the blitz.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Carr’s completion percentage drops from 71 percent to 48.7 when blitzed.
Offensive coordinator Greg Olson has told the media that he’s liked Carr’s progress. The young QB has had to learn quickly, and he’s been put in a difficult position because the running game isn’t working and the defense hasn’t been able to make stops consistently. Every game, Carr has been put in the position of trying to rally his team.
“I know that we’ve got a chance when Derek Carr is out on the field,” Olson said recently.
But if Carr can heal this week and start against the Chargers, he’ll need to perform better against pressure. The Chargers rank among the NFL leaders in sacks, with 10 in four games from their 3-4 defense. No doubt, they'll come after him.