ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) – Derek Carr has suffered through long losing streaks before. The Oakland Raiders lost their first 10 games during his rookie season in 2014 before winning three of the final six.
He believes the lessons he learned then can benefit the Raiders now as they try to shrug off another winless start.
That’s why Carr cautioned against knee-jerk reactions and instead is trying to keep the vibe the same in spite of Oakland’s 0-3 record.
“If you’re going to go through something like that you might as well do it in the right attitude,” Carr said Wednesday. “It’s all about your attitude and how you handle things. I don’t really want to waste my family’s time, my coaches’ time, my teammates’ time by walking around here being sad. There’s no point. We have a job to do. We have things to continue to work on.”
The Raiders dropped their opener to the Los Angeles Rams 33-13 before consecutive close road losses in Denver and Miami.
In all three games, Oakland led in the third quarter, only to fall flat each time. The Raiders, who are sixth in total offense, have been outscored 37-3 in the fourth quarter.
Carr’s season has mirrored the Raiders’ struggles. His 76.6 completion percentage is second in the NFL behind Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints. He’s also on pace to pass for a career-best 4,992 yards.
But Carr has also made mistakes at critical times. His five interceptions are tied for most in the NFL, and he was picked off in the end zone late in the fourth quarter against Miami last week with Oakland trailing by four points.
“I think at times he is trying too hard,” coach Jon Gruden said. “I think sometimes he needs to learn a little bit more patience and he will. I’m really excited about the way he has played and improved and mastered this offense. We are getting closer.”
The problem is that the improvement isn’t reflected in the standings.
That’s why Carr has been leaning on his experience from 2014. The Raiders opened that season with 10 consecutive losses before stunning Kansas City on a Thursday night.
Although there are obvious similarities between 2014 and this year, Carr said, there are distinct differences, too.
“It’s not what we wanted but everyone in there is energized,” Carr said. “I’ve been 0-10 before and I know that feeling, I’ve seen the look on people’s faces. That’s not the same look that our team has. We understand that we’re doing some really good things on both sides. Now, we all need to correct here and there a little bit but it’s not drastic stuff.”
Cleveland coach Hue Jackson, who coached the Raiders in 2011, has been impressed with Carr this season.
“He’s throwing the ball all over the place,” Jackson said during a conference call. “I don’t think their issues are in the passing game. Derek’s playing well.”
Carr has tried to convey a similar positive message to his teammates.
“It’s mostly the young guys because they don’t know. They’ve never been in a situation like this, especially at this level,” Carr said. “I had a great talk this morning with (rookie defensive end) Arden Key, just about some of those kinds of things. People did it for me so I feel like I should do it for them.
“I’ve tried to be the same guy for five years. I try and be the same guy every day for my teammates, whether we go out there and win by 20 or whether we lose in the ways that we have.”
Notes: The Raiders signed free agent kicker Matt McCrane and placed Mike Nugent on injured reserve with a hip injury. McCrane was undrafted and spent training camp with the Arizona Cardinals. . Rookie defensive lineman P.J. Hall (ankle sprain) practiced during the unpadded workout. The second-round pick has been inactive the past two weeks.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press.