Playing against Raiders quarterback Derek Carr can be a frustrating experience for opposing pass rushers, even one as accomplished as linebacker Von Miller of the Denver Broncos.
Carr happens to play behind one of the game’s best offensive lines, including tackles Donald Penn and Kolton Miller, and he has one of the quickest pass releases in the game, allowing him to get the pass off a step ahead of the rush most of the time.
The Raiders meet their fellow AFC West foe on Sunday in Denver in a continuation of one of the NFL’s most storied rivalries.
“He’s not going to give you a chance to rush the passer,” said Miller, who began the season by racking up three sacks of Russell Wilson in last week’s 27-24 win over the Seahawks. “The average time to throw the ball last year was 2.5 seconds. They had Derek throwing it in 2.2 seconds on Monday. He’s going to get the ball out very quick and he’s very accurate with his throws. They have a great offensive line, a great running back and great coaches over there. Pretty tough team that we’re going up against. We know that the ant pile is going to be stirred up a little bit, with the game they played the other day. It’s going to be tough one, but we’re looking forward to it.”
Despite his ability to quickly and accurately deliver the pass, Carr is coming off a lackluster outing in which threw for 302 yards but had no touchdowns and was intercepted three times, including once in the end zone in a 33-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
“There were a few plays that uncharacteristically, he wasn’t at his best,’’ said Raiders coach Jon Gruden. “It’s just disappointing, but I think knowing how good Derek is, it gives us hope that we can get it all solved.”
Miller said he expects nothing less than to see Carr at his best on Sunday but he has a strategy in mind for limiting the damage as the Raiders quarterback seeks to rebound from his slow start.
“Try to get them third and long,” Miller said. “At third and long, you’ve got to take your time and throw the ball anyways. If you’re throwing the ball quick on third and long, we’ve got great corners. We’ve just got to let those guys spread. Three and outs happen when you throw the ball quick and don’t just want an incomplete ball. We’ve just got to get our hands up and hopefully he’ll hold it. Rush like he’s going to hold the ball.”
For their part, the Raiders won’t be able to focus entirely on the pass rushing charges of Miller, who is complemented on the other side by fellow edge rusher Bradley Chubb, the Broncos' top draft pick who had half a sack on the game’s first play last week.
“The presence, the threat of Chubb is a problem in your pass protection,” Gruden said. “Because you don’t want to isolate the wrong guy, potentially, against Chubb. We know what kind of future he has, and you always have to be careful with Miller. This is as good a defense as there is in football, I believe.”