Raiders latest challenge is keeping QB Derek Carr upright against Denver 1-2 pass rush punch of Ware-Miller


Derek Carr needed help getting his jacket on after the Raiders last game, and walked slowly and stiffly from the podium after this week’s press briefing.

The aches and pains of a quarterback at the midway point of his rookie season will be subject to the NFL’s most dynamic 1-2 punch in terms of a pass rush Sunday when the Raiders host the AFC West-leading Denver Broncos at O.co Coliseum.

The Broncos, 6-2, rebuilt their defense after a 43-8 pummeling by the Seattle Seahawks in last season’s Super Bowl, with former Dallas edge rusher DeMarcus Ware the star attraction to go along with strong side linebacker Von Miller.

Ware, 32, has eight sacks, two more than he had in 13 games last season with the Dallas Cowboys. His release saved the Cowboys $7.4 million against the salary cap, and the Broncos gambled Ware still had enough left to be worth a three-year contract worth $30 million.

Miller, who set the Denver single-season sack record with 19.5 in 2012, is recovering nicely from a torn ACL and has seven sacks.

Raiders coach Tony Sparano, who was on Bill Parcells’ staff in Dallas when Ware was drafted in 2005, said the Ware-Miller tandem been “affecting” quarterbacks about 15 times per game in the form of pressures and quarterback hits.

“They’re two dynamic players,” Sparano said. “It’s rare you find two on the same team like that, so it’s going to be a challenge for us.”

For all the issues the Raiders have had in an 0-8 season, they have been been respectable in the areas of holding their ground at the line of scrimmage and keeping Carr relatively clean.

Opponents have thrown Raiders backs for losses 13 times, the second lowest figure in the league. It’s a little deceiving in that the Raiders have run the ball infrequently, and their 8.7 percent figure of negative plays is squarely in the middle of the NFL at No. 16.

Carr has been sacked just eight times. His brother, David Carr, had been sacked 45 times on a 2-6 team with the expansion Houston Texans in 2002.

“He gets the ball off really quick,” Ware told reporters in Denver. “He knows even if you blitz him, even if you rush him, it really doesn’t matter. He’s going to dump it down to his running backs or short passes that make sure he keeps the game close.”

In a 30-24 loss to Seattle, Carr was sacked just once, but by Sparano’s count was hit “four or five” times. In the Raiders’ previous loss to Houston, Carr was dropped a season-high four times.

Even Sparano conceded the Raiders’ offensive line was soundly beaten by the Seattle defensive front, a sentiment he relayed to the players in his usual blunt fashion.

The Raiders are likely facing the Broncos without starting left guard Gabe Jackson, who didn’t practice Thursday with a knee injury. That means Khalif Barnes will move inside to left guard, where he hasn’t played this season, with Matt McCants serving as the tackle-eligible blocker in power formations.

Left tackle Donald Penn has played against Ware four times as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with Ware getting three sacks in those games for Dallas.

“He looks like he’s got a lot to prove,” Penn said. “He’s playing hard and he’s getting a lot more one-on-one matchups because of Von being on the other side, and their inside inside guys are pretty good too,.”

Sparano said Carr will need to trust his protection and make good decisions, but insisted the Raiders will take some downfield shots.

“We can’t just dink and dunk the whole day,” Sparano said.

With the NFL’s 32nd ranked rushing attack, Sparano insists the Raiders will stay the course and look to get yards on the ground which would slow the pass rush.

“We’ve shown signs and glimpses (of being able to run),” Penn said. “But signs and glimpses get you to 0-8. We’ve got to find a way to get it going.”

— Cornerback TJ Carrie was limited in practice, but Carlos Rogers was out and it appears he won’t play against Denver. Wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins was excused for a personal matter but expected to be available Sunday.

— Raiders announced the Denver game is a sellout and will be televised locally.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Return

    Franchise qb:
    a. a quarterback who can lead his team to more than a .500 season consistently
    b. a quarterback who has the full faith and backing of an organization for more than two years

  • disqus_yeZNegncsV

    The problem I have with your definition is that you can have really good players, excellent players on your offense and your defense, some all pros, yet a mediocre qb. You might even win the division and get to the playoffs with such a qb, esp. if you play in a weak division, but no one will call that guy a franchise qb.
    You can have a team that is so superior on defense that in a black and blue division, you can still win and make it to the playoffs And win the Super Bowl..but no one will call that qb a franchise qb.
    Unless, of course, you count Trent Dilfer as a “franchise qb.”

  • JB

    Here’s who I consider to be Francise QB’s:
    Denver – P. Manning
    KC – Smith
    SDGO – Rivers
    Seattle – Wilson
    Arizona – Palmer
    N.O.Saints – Brees
    G.B. Packers – Rogers
    Colts – Luck
    Detroit Lions – Stafford

    N.e. Pats – Brady
    Dallas Cowboys – Romo
    Pittsburg Steelers – Roethlisberger
    NY Giants – Manning

    There are other good QB’s now playing but I don’t believe they’ve achieved the Franchise QB status yet. Just my opinion.

  • disqus_yeZNegncsV

    Addendum: Just last year, Josh McCown took over for an injured Cutler.
    I think they went 8-8. You think McCown is a franchise qb?

  • Return

    Yes I count Dilfer as a Franchise qb. He was a mediocre talent but at least didn’t hurt the chances of this teram. Don’t care what he looked like doing it. He guided his team to a SB win, even if he needed a guide dog to do it.

    I count Palmer as a Franchise qb. He’s been a franchise qb most of his career. I now call him a winner even though career wise he is still a loser. A loser franchise qb. Bengals didn’t put up with him being a loser. Neither did the Raiders. He’s a winner with ARI and is still basically the same qb.

    I counted Shaub as a franchise qb. I still think Shaub could outplay Carr but Shaub doesn’t have the full faith and backing of the Raiders. He has the skill but not the backing so he is no longer franchise.

    It’s simple. A franchise qb has to win consistently. Period.

  • disqus_yeZNegncsV

    NOt a bad list. In other words, if you assume the owner puts EXCELLENT players around them, they will win.
    However, of those listed, which ones don’t need EXCELLENCE around them on their team to have a winning record, just good players mixed with some okay ones?
    I count 4, and one with a question mark by his name:
    Brady, Manning, Rodgers, Luck
    the question mark is Brees.

  • disqus_yeZNegncsV

    Okay, but just to clarify, I think you made one of my points–that many will never agree what a franchise qb is ….because you’re one of the few people that would call Dilfer a FQ.

  • Blackholepriest

    Joe Montana won 3 games his first year as a starter. Aaron Rodgers 6 on a team that had won I think 10 the year before. While you cannot definitively call him a franchise Qb you certainly can’t say he will nev er be. So that being said what’s the answer?
    It’s the eye test and all the elements of the equation come into play. Accuracy, leadership, armstrength, anticipation, ability to diagnose, run said offense and make plays when the game is on the line. Those are being answered every time he sets foot on the field. And it will take more time before it all becomes obvious to everyone involved….period
    He has the requisite skillset, the rest is experience and reps….period

  • JB

    I agree with your assessment although I would include Brees without a question mark. He’s a real leader with an excellent track record. I’d take him for the Raiders in a heartbeat. He belongs on that top 5 list without question.

  • Return

    Nope. Cause he doesn’t get the full faith and backing of the team. I know VY was a franchise qb in the winner sense but the Titans got rid of him. No faith in him. Bradford is the poster child for faith based franchise qb’s. Alex Smith is one who lucked out and the organization stuck with him on faith. Again, my definition is simple. I like the winner definition. Organizations will often go for the full faith and backing because it is a choice based on faith. But at the end of the day the winner clause usually trumps everything else.

  • Return

    ok. Fair enough.

  • RaiderCDE

    I’m all for keeping the Raiders at the Coliseum. A’s have their own $$ can build their own stadium in lot A and remodel the Coliseum for a fraction of the price – both teams can play there till A’s stadium is done. And the Coliseum has so much history and can be the anti-Levis stadium. Makes so much sense but no one and I mean no one is talking about that very obvious option..

  • disqus_yeZNegncsV

    I thought about Brees, almost put him down, but I’d have to go back and look at the people he’s had around him during the Saints winning seasons.
    I chose the others because they’ve all had mediocre teams that they’ve still won big with.
    I think he’s a franchise qb, for sure, just maybe not a guy who can consistently get a W with mediocrity and few simply good players around him.

  • 0tt0

    its only hard if you suck….broncos dont have a hard schedule and they have the same schedule…except they get to play us twice…….maybe thats the trick

  • disqus_yeZNegncsV

    The question of how much it would take to renovate O.Co is an interesting one. you’d have to get rid of Mt. Davis, though. It’s an eyesore. You ‘d have to add something where it is.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Goalpost guys.

  • disqus_yeZNegncsV

    The Bradford example is a good one.

  • RaiderCDE

    nah just take it down, give back the amazing view of the hills put the stadium back to 50k or so… put in permanent seats where the bleachers are.. remodel luxury boxes, add new screens, fix the bathrooms, add a parking garage… look what theyve done to Soldier field and Lambeau field – every year adding new things over time they become state of the art stadiums…

  • JB

    Oakland’s new mayor will NOT support a new stadium funded with public funds. She’s on record regarding that issue. Upgrading O.co could be a workable solution. I personaly don’t think the O.co s all that bad. they definitely need new much larger replay screens. They “probably” need upgraded locker rooms and on-site medical facilities. Fixing existing reported plumbing problems would be a priority item too. Other than that, O.co is just fine IMO.

  • RaiderCDE

    Totally agree – its ‘old school’ and I love old school. The Raiders *are* and should be old school and that stadium has a ton of history and its already there!! Places like Metlif and Levis stadium to me is sterile and lame in comparison… Drop $200 million on a remodel over 3 years and it would be a palace to football.

  • Return

    Are we talking Carr?
    I’ve said over and over I don’t have a clue if Carr is franchise material or not. He certainly hasn’t won and for that reason doesn’t have my faith. But by the same token he hasn’t been terrible so he can’t be written off. IMO he’s in a kind of a limbo. Good enough to keep you intrigued but anemic enough where you can’t excited over what he does. Only what he might do. To me the jury is still out on Carr. I don’t know how to quite peg him yet.

  • JB

    My first season tickets were in 1966 or 67. Sect 315, row 4 seats 5,6,7 & 8. I’ve since migrated to Section 241 (Club-East). I got pissed off and did not renew last year and this year. I refuse to pay $3500 for the crap team they have right now. If things turn around, I’ll reconsider getting season tickets again.

  • Return

    Brady doesn’t have exccellece in Gronk and Revis?
    Manning gots all world defense and offense.
    Luck has almost as good on offense and defense
    Rodgers is the only one on there that fits the good playeer catagory.
    Brees has an all world TE.

  • Return

    Stafford is franchise but not Wilson, Cam, Kap, and Flacco?