The San Francisco 49ers will travel up the Bay to face the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, and all indications are that Derek Carr will be the starting quarterback. I mention this because Tony Sparano pulled Carr late in the Raiders blowout loss to the St. Louis Rams, and he had to confirm to the media that Carr would in fact remain the starter.
Carr has shown some really good things for the Raiders, but after a fairly strong middle of the season, he has regressed to some degree. Silver & Black Pride discussed his regression leading up to the Raiders game against the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks ago. Carr's season to date seems to have peaked in Week 5 when he completed 18 of 34 passes for 282 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. He also put up 328 yards and a touchdown two weeks later against the Cleveland Browns.
Since that 328-yard performance, his numbers have fallen across the board. In the five games since then, he has four games with a quarterback rating under 70, four with a QBR under 25, and he has graded out negatively at Pro Football Focus each of the last five games.
Matt Schaub is the Raiders backup quarterback, but there is really no reason at this point for him to be starting over Carr. In the Rams loss, it made sense to pull Carr late due to the blowout. But he has done enough week-to-week that he deserves a chance to finish out the season as the starter. He is struggling, but the Raiders need to see what he can do.
It is certainly not an ideal situation to develop a young quarterback, but how often does a team have an ideal situation to work in a young QB? Carr and the Raiders faces an improving 49ers pass rush this weekend. The Raiders will have Latavius Murray back in the fold, and the 49ers run defense has been a bit inconsistent this season. Fortunately, the 49ers secondary has stepped up its game in 2014, and ideally they will pick apart this Raiders offense. Given the struggles of the 49ers own offense, they'll need every piece of extra field position they can get.