Even after the ex-Fresno State star threw three interceptions in a 33-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
“He’s 20-for-24 I read,” Gruden said Tuesday. “Doing some really good things. I heard a skunk got loose in our tunnel. I think that’s what screwed us up a little bit. (laughter) I don’t have any doubts that Derek Carr is going to be great. I can’t wait to get started and get ready for the (Denver) Broncos.”
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The Raiders travel to face the Broncos in an AFC West game on Sunday.
But it looked good early for the Raiders, an opening drive that led to a touchdown and a 13-10 halftime lead.
After that, it was all Rams at the Oakland-Alamada County Coliseum.
“Offensively, we just couldn’t get anything going,” Gruden said. “We turned the ball over, we failed to pick up a blitz one time. It was very disappointing.”
Carr threw three interceptions – one in the end zone in the first half that was under-thrown intended for Jared Cook, and two in the second half. On one, Carr lobbed a ball into space expecting Jordy Nelson would fill it, but he didn’t. On the other, Marcus Peters jumped a throw intended for Cook and returned it for the final score of the game.
Looking at the film, Gruden said “there was a few plays that uncharacteristically he wasn’t at his best.”
“Sometimes you have to credit (defensive coordinator) Wade Phillips, you have to credit the defense,” Gruden said. “They gave us multiple looks. They have some talented people out there. It’s just disappointing but I think knowing how good Derek is it gives us hope that we can get it all solved.”
Said Carr on Monday: “Our execution as an offense – whether it’s bad throws, miscommunication, all that kind of stuff,” Carr said. “Stuff that usually happens in a first game, but you don’t really pay the consequence for them all the time. But we did today. And that’s my fault. I have to do a better job for my team and I will.”
In the first half, Carr was 20 of 24 for 199 yards and one interception. He finished completing 29 of 40 for 303 yards.
Gruden said Carr “did some good things” but made “some critical errors.”
“He knows that, you know that, we all know that,” Gruden said. “One of them wasn’t his fault. He got fooled by one of our own receivers and we have to do a better job on coaching. It’s on me.
“We had plenty of opportunities to make plays, but we didn’t. Obviously we got fooled on the pick-six late in the game by Marcus (Peters) and Aqib (Talib), those are very good players. We played against a good defense and they got us tonight.”
Carr said he’s confident the Raiders will be right for road trips the next two weeks at Denver on Sunday and at Miami on Sept. 23.
“I just talked to (Gruden) for 10 minutes and I already feel like we are going to be better next week kind of a thing,” Carr said. “It’s always disappointing to lose. We don’t want to do that especially in the first game. We got 15 more, and I think we are going to be pretty good.”
Of note – Cook set the franchise record for most receiving yards in a game by a Raiders tight end, finishing with 180 yards on nine catches.
Defensive end Bruce Irvin now leads the NFL with 11 forced fumbles since joining the Raiders in 2016, after recording a strip sack of Jared Goff in the second quarter.