One wouldn’t fault Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr if he channeled his inner Sam Darnold and saw ghosts in Week 9.
Injuries and COVID-19 have decimated the Raiders’ offensive line all season. Right tackle Trent Young is out indefinitely as he deals with complications from COVID-19.
Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders could be without the other tackle, standout left tackle Kolton Miller, in Week 9. The Raiders would be in bad shape if Miller, their durable lineman, can’t suit up.
Derek Carr is having a resurgent 2020 season
Don’t look now, but Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders could return to the playoffs this year.
Las Vegas is 4-3 entering its Week 9 showdown with a disappointing Los Angeles Chargers team.
The Raiders are in a prime position to make a run at an AFC wild card berth because of Carr’s play behind center. Already in his seventh season, Carr has completed 71.1% of his passes for 1,837 yards, 14 touchdowns, and two interceptions.
Carr is on pace to end the season with career-highs in completion percentage and interception percentage (0.9%); his 262.4 passing yards per game rank just below the 262.5 he averaged in 2016, when he made his second of three Pro Bowls.
Entering Week 9 of the 2020 season, Carr had completed 64.5% of his passes for 24,630 yards, 157 touchdowns, and 64 touchdowns across 101 career games.
Kolton Miller has played a big role
Having left tackle Kolton Miller in the trenches has made Derek Carr’s life far easier this season.
The 15th overall pick in 2018, Miller has been among the league’s best and most durable young offensive linemen since entering the NFL.
Standing 6 feet 8 inches and weighing 325 pounds, Miller hasn’t missed a single snap since his rookie season and has started all 39 of the Raiders’ games in that span.
According to the Raiders’ official website, Pro Football Focus ranked the Raiders’ offensive line as the NFL’s best entering the season.
According to Football Outsiders, the Raiders are tied for 14th in pass protection.
Derek Carr could be without Kolton Miller in Week 9
Derek Carr may be without Kolton Miller in that pivotal Week 9 matchup against the Chargers.
Miller is currently battling an ankle injury, one which has left him a game-time decision for the Raiders’ next game. The former first-round pick has never missed a game in his three-year career.
Former third-round pick Brandon Parker would likely start at left tackle if Miller can’t play.
Parker started 12 games at right tackle as a rookie and came off the bench to play over 65% of the Raiders’ offensive snaps in the last two weeks.
On paper, Las Vegas has a relatively easy second half of the season. Of their nine remaining games, only three are against teams with winning records: Kansas City, Indianapolis, and the Miami Dolphins.
All three of those games, and five of the last nine, are at home.