He is where he should be for now. On the sideline. Out of harm’s way.
Raiders starting quarterback Derek Carr didn’t play for the second straight preseason game Sunday, a 26-20 victory over the Vikings at Allegiant Stadium.
It doesn’t mean Carr isn’t continuing to learn the new offense of coach Josh McDaniels. Doesn’t mean he can’t still pick up nuances of it.
“I think the most important thing I do during the preseason is communicating with Josh, whether I’m in the game or not,” Carr said this past week. “I feel like I can get better by asking, ‘Josh, what are you thinking on this?’ Because I want to make sure. I’m trying to execute it exactly how he wants it done.”
Aaron Rodgers couldn’t have been more correct when talking about the opportunity for a starting quarterback to play in the preseason. There is no benefit, the Packers quarterback insisted, to suit up and take one series.
Some teams agree. Many who gave starters time over the weekend don’t.
For his part, Carr’s play during camp has been exemplary.
Opportunity to grow
He shouldn’t see the field until the Raiders kick things off for real against the Chargers on Sept. 11. Nothing to gain. The risk isn’t worth it as the Raiders continue to look for what bodies might comprise a competent offensive line.
Things were again rough up front at times Sunday.
“Everything (quarterbacks) hear on the sideline, every time we have (certain situations) come up in a preseason game, I think it’s an opportunity for us to grow and improve,” McDaniels said when asked Friday about Carr playing in the preseason. “It’s a great opportunity for (Carr) to listen. It’s basically like he would be out there —the dialogue that would be happening with the quarterback from the play caller.”
Do you know how little these preseason games count for established players?
The game began, and injured tight end Darren Waller was instead across the freeway watching the Aces against Seattle at Michelob Ultra Arena. He didn’t miss all that much of consequence.
So many starters resigned to standing around. So many guys who should make a huge difference once the season begins nowhere near the action.
One thing is certain: Should anything happen to Carr, Jarrett Stidham has grasped the No. 2 role.
He also might be Michael Vick 2.0.
Or, you know, something like that.
Stidham ran for his second score of the preseason Sunday.
“Everyone was joking about that on the sideline, but no, definitely not,” he said when asked about the comparison to Vick.
You shouldn’t think of playing Carr until things are shored up in front of him. Left tackle Kolton Miller — another valuable asset — didn’t take the field again, but those rotating throughout struggled finding consistency.
Pass blocking has been suspect for two games — the Vikings had four sacks — but it’s also true there is little game planning. It’s just about putting guys out there and seeing how they react.
It’s more than a work in progress. Not for the faint of heart for those throwing the ball right now.
Not near perfect
“I think we’re getting better each and every day, man,” guard John Simpson said. “Nothing is perfect. Just put the last play behind us.”
An important part to remember: There are two weeks — not one as in previous years — between the final preseason game and the start of the regular season. So if he takes snaps at all, you figure Carr would at Miami on Saturday.
He’ll have two practices against the Patriots during the week of a game between the teams Aug. 26 at Allegiant, so playing him in the preseason finale wouldn’t make sense.
Besides, he is where he should be —at least until things are a lot more settled up front.
Ed Graney is a Sigma Delta Chi Award winner for sports column writing and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.