While there were some exceptions, Week 5 was not a great one if you were a quarterback, or especially a kicker. There were a lot of notably underwhelming performances, including a handful of high-profile quarterbacks and a kicking nightmare in Detroit. Those were hardly the only positions to suffer, though, as receivers, defenses, and even coaches were left looking a bit silly after Sunday’s events.
Here’s a look at 15 of the biggest disappointments of NFL Week 5.
Mason Crosby, K, Packers
It’s safe to say Crosby had the worst kicking performance of the 2018 season. His first miss, wide left from 41 in the first quarter, was unusual, but sometimes good kickers just blow one. Then he missed off the right upright from 42, followed by another wide right from 38, and it was clear that something was going on. A missed extra point in the third confirmed that Crosby’s confidence was shot and initiated a Twitter pile-on, and sending him out there in the fourth to miss from 56 — more understandably — felt like cruel and unusual punishment. It was so bad for Crosby that the Packers saw fit to let him hit one from 41 with seven seconds left just so he could see one go through the uprights. Crosby has five seasons, including the previous three, where he missed just four kicks all season. To say this was uncharacteristic for him is an understatement.
Miami Dolphins defensive end William Hayes tore his ACL while trying to avoid putting his weight on Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr during Sunday’s game to avoid a roughing the passer call under the league’s new rules. That has prompted an avalanche of criticism of the rule, arguing that it’s making other players less safe at the expense of quarterback safety.
Carr, the quarterback involved, thought Hayes should have landed on him, and not because he wanted the penalty yardage.
Raiders QB Derek Carr on Dolphins DE William Hayes, who tore ACL trying not to land hard on Carr when sacking him: “I wish the guy would have just landed on me instead of tearing his ACL. …For him to tear his ACL, nobody wants that. I don’t want that.”
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) September 26, 2018
Even opponents who benefit have been critical of the rule. While Carr isn’t directly criticizing it, it’s pretty clear he thinks there should be some common-sense limits to what is illegal under the interpretation of the rule.
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Jon Gruden called out his quarterback Derek Carr on Wednesday for passing up throws during the Oakland Raiders’ Monday night loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Speaking with reporters, Gruden said Carr had Amari Cooper open deep a few times and didn’t pass it to him.
Gruden: “Cooper was open deep, he was open a couple times. For whatever reason, we didn’t go there.”
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) September 12, 2018
Cooper had just one catch for nine yards in the game — far below what the former No. 4 pick is capable of. Carr threw for 303 yards but did not have a touchdown pass and was intercepted three times.
Lest you think this is Gruden picking on Carr, keep in mind that former Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio made the exact same observation about Carr last season.
Del Rio said Carr wasn’t under duress yesterday and saw he had more time “to take more shots downfield that we had designed.”
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) October 30, 2017
Carr had a strong rookie season in 2014 and followed that up with even more impressive seasons in 2015 and 2016. He looked like he was well on his way to becoming a franchise quarterback. However, last year he suffered a serious back injury that derailed his play. Some thought he would be improved if healthy this season, but maybe there was more to his struggles than injury.
The observation from Gruden makes one wonder whether the Raiders will consider moving on from Carr if he doesn’t show improvement, which certainly seems like a possibility.
Derek Carr looked at one point like he had the potential to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but his struggles from last season spilled over into 2018 with a rough game against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night. If that trend continues, will Jon Gruden go in another direction?
Gruden loves grooming young quarterbacks, and he was not with the Oakland Raiders when they drafted Carr. While he has spoken very highly of the 27-year-old, Will Brinson of CBS Sports raised an interesting point when he noted that the Raiders could save $15 million in salary cap space if they cut Carr before 2019.
Derek Carr's cap hit in 2019 is $22.5 million … but the Raiders could save $15 million in cap space if they decided to part ways.
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) September 11, 2018
Carr signed a five-year, $125 million extension last summer, so it seems unlikely that the franchise would just give up on him. However, Gruden already proved he is not afraid to make unpopular decisions when he traded Khalil Mack. Brinson wouldn’t be surprised if he also cut ties with Carr, especially now that Oakland has two additional first-round picks.
If you think Jon Gruden won't convince himself he can find his own QB using 2 first-round picks while saving $71 million in cap space over the next four years you haven't been paying enough attention to Jon Gruden.
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) September 11, 2018
Carr threw three interceptions in a 33-13 loss to the Rams. One game is not going to define his season, but he has fallen off quite a bit since he posted back-to-back productive years in 2015 and 2016. While Gruden had some extremely high praise for Carr over the summer, he’s a quarterback guy who isn’t going to accept mediocrity at the position — especially if it costs more than $20 million a year.
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr found out like everyone else that Khalil Mack was heading to the Chicago Bears on Saturday morning, and it’s fair to say he was a little heartbroken.
Amid reports that Mack was being dealt to the Chicago Bears for a sum that will include two first-round picks, Carr took to Twitter to relay a simple two-word message.
— Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb) September 1, 2018
Carr had made no secret on Twitter of his desire to see the star defensive end return to the Raiders quickly, even as his holdout dragged on toward the regular season. All along, the thought was that Mack wasn’t a trade chip and would probably return to Oakland eventually. Now he’s not, and it’s sinking in for everyone — including Oakland’s quarterback.
It would appear that the Oakland Raiders are going to begin the regular season without their best defensive player, and that will put them at a major disadvantage any way you look at it. Derek Carr seems to realize that.
On Thursday night, Khalil Mack had a very candid response to a clip that was posted on Twitter that showed him rushing the quarterback.
I miss it
— Khalil Mack (@52Mack_) August 31, 2018
When Carr saw what Mack wrote, he couldn’t help but publicly express his feelings on Mack being absent from the team for so long.
I miss you
— Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb) August 31, 2018
That probably sums up how all Raiders players and fans feel, and they are going to miss Mack even more if he continues his holdout into Week 1. Mack is in the final year of his rookie contract and wants a new deal, and it sounds like he is willing to forfeit his roughly $800,000 per week game check if he doesn’t get one. While many have assumed the former Defensive Player of the Year would show up at the start of the season, the latest reports make that seem unlikely.
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Jon Gruden gave some glowing praise of his new quarterback, Derek Carr.
Gruden, who is entering his first season back in the NFL since 2008, is regarded as a quarterbacks expert. He has a complex system that takes a while to master, but it can produce great results once you do.
And good news, Raiders fans: Gruden says that Carr has been working hard all offseason and has “mastered” the offense.
“I think he’s one of the best, in terms of processing information,” Gruden said of Carr, via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Scott Bair. “I think he craves new things. He wants more… ‘What do we have today? What are we doing today? What’s new? What do we got?’ He has a photographic memory. It comes so easy to him. He’s got the offense mastered more than I do.”
The last line about Carr knowing the offense better than him is exaggeration from Gruden, but it doesn’t change the expectations Gruden is putting in place. Carr has shown signs of becoming a franchise quarterback until taking a step back last season. It seems like Carr is in line to get back to his franchise QB form in 2018. Having a new offensive weapon like Jordy Nelson should also help his development.