It always seemed a little hard to believe that Derek Carr was the problem for the Las Vegas Raiders last season.
Carr had a very good 2021 campaign. Even when the Raiders made him the scapegoat for a losing 2022 season and ended up cutting him, the New Orleans Saints were happy to sign Carr to a four-year, $150 million deal.
And while Sunday was just one drive in a preseason game, it didn’t look like Carr was a liability.
Carr was excellent in his first preseason snaps with the Saints. He completed 6-of-8 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown on New Orleans’ first drive. Saints coach Dennis Allen saw enough, because he lifted Carr for Jameis Winston after that. Winston immediately threw a touchdown for a 14-0 Saints lead over the Kansas City Chiefs.
It wasn’t just the stats for Carr; he looked comfortable the entire drive. He was calm in the pocket hitting tight end Juwan Johnson for a pair of catches. He found a sliding Michael Thomas downfield for 16 yards. Alvin Kamara got involved with a couple of catches and a nice 12-yard run too. And on the touchdown, Carr patiently waited until Keith Kirkwood got open in the back of the end zone, and he hit him for a score. Carr looked like he’d been the Saints quarterback for many years.
The Saints starting defense did pretty well too, stopping Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense at midfield on the first drive of the game. The Chiefs went for it on fourth-and-1, tried a tricky direct snap to tight end Blake Bell and Bell was stuffed for no gain at the line.
The Saints felt they had to upgrade at quarterback after missing the playoffs in a bad NFC South last season. Carr was available after the Raiders decided to move on after nine seasons. Maybe Carr and the Saints is going to be a great match.