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Derek Carr: Who’s the new quarterback in New Orleans?

The first quarterback domino fell ahead of the NFL’s 2023 league year, when the New Orleans Saints signed former Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to a four-year, $150 million contract with a $100 million guarantee.

That was actually a great move by New Orleans, not because Carr is a fantastic quarterback, but he’s certainly better than Jameis Winston, and he’ll instantly become the best quarterback in a weak NFC South.

There weren’t many other or better options out there. The argument that Carr hasn’t won a playoff game is valid, and neither has he been able to win with Davante Adams, but the reality is that Carr has had six head coaches in his nine-year tenure. and three in his last two years. In his first three years with the same head coach, he appeared in three Pro Bowls (2015-2017)…

…and guess which team the coach who called him up (Dennis Allen) is now with — yes, you guessed it, the New Orleans Saints.

Can Carr be the quarterback he was drafted to? A few things need to happen for that to manifest, so let’s dive into his current situation and what needs to happen for him to turn his career around.

Supporting cast/old bonds will never break

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

A big factor that comes into play is Dennis Allen. The coach who drafted Carr to the Raiders is now with the Saints. He knows and understands Carr’s player type; This may have been a big reason Carr chose the Saints in the first place; to reunite with his head coach.

If you look at the Saints last year, they were wracked with injuries and still somehow got away with seven wins. They had three starting quarterbacks, Jarvis Landry appeared in just nine games, and Michael Thomas appeared in just three.

Although Carr and Davante Adams didn’t lead the Raiders to the Super Bowl last year, the season wasn’t a complete failure. Adams finished the 2022 season with the third-most yards, third-most touchdowns, and fifth-most yards per game.

They were able to achieve some success because Adams was able to break up.

The story goes on

Do you know who else can break up? Chris Olav. Mainly because of the amount of pillow defenses given to him.

This tells us that with this amount of pad Olave is seeing her offense can open up with slants underneath, and if he goes deep he can come in untouched.

Your connection might look like this:

Expect the bottom tosses to be the bread and butter. In Carr’s early years, Allen, they were averaging 5.5 yards per attempt. Since then (his last year with Allen), Carr has averaged 7.3 yards per attempt.

The New Orleans Saints averaged a similar tally to Carr’s early days last year, 5.6 yards per game. Carr will return to his roots and execute a quick passing style offense that can also field the ball when needed.

Here are Carr’s stats from last year when looking at the passing depth. His highest completion percentage is throwing between 0 and 9 yards:

Last season, the Saints had 26 catches from 25+ yards or more, which ranks 23rd in the league. They had 103 attempts in a 15-yard field, which ranked 18th in the league. They don’t do it often.

But when they passed the scrimmage line with a throw for up to five yards, the Saints ranked ninth in points earned with 27.92. They also had the eighth-highest quarterback rating for throwing the ball seven yards or less in the field.

Their offense relied on yards after the catch and didn’t go as deep as they should have. Maybe they didn’t have a healthy enough quarterback for that!

Play Action Pass.

(Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports)

Among quarterbacks with at least 80 play-action passes, Carr had the 12th-highest completion percentage (67.6%) with the sixth-highest pressure rating of 40.2%. But the Raiders only put Carr in the game 112 times, which was 19th in the league.

On executing the play-action pass, Carr went 71-to-105 for 851 yards and six touchdowns, and five of those touchdowns went to Adams.

In Week 11 against the Denver Broncos, Carr threw two touchdowns to Adams, and both come from a play-action pass.

Here was the first:

According to the PFF, the Raiders rank the offensive line 26th in terms of efficiency. We should see a more accurate and comfortable carr with the Saints, who rank 12th in offensive line efficiency.

Derek Carr was the right move for the Saints.

(Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports)

Carr may not take the Saints to the Super Bowl, but he has a better chance of succeeding in New Orleans than in Las Vegas.

He will have Olave, Thomas, Landry, Kamara, better offensive line and one important factor we haven’t mentioned yet, better defense. Carr has never played with a top 20 defense in his entire nine seasons in the NFL!

I came across this awesome graph posted by u/JPAnalyst on reddit showing how much worse the Raiders defense is compared to the Saints; since Carr joined the league in 2014.

Carr has an 18-12 record when the Raiders conceded 20 or fewer points on defense. In context, that means this has only happened 30 times in his nine seasons!

All I’m saying is that Carr finally has a chance to prove he’s not a by-product of a mediocre team. Can he break free of the stigma he has received from an unfulfilling career he’s had in a team with a historically poor roster? We’ll find out soon.

Can he take the Saints to the next level? In short yes. He won’t be the only reason, but they can win with him.

The Saints certainly have the best quarterback in free agency, so that’s it!

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire