Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was last sacked by linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. in a Week 4 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. The Raiders have played three games since, and Carr hasn’t been sacked in any of them.
A combination of Carr getting the ball out quickly, and the Raiders being stout upfront, has been a good combination for the their offense so far in 2019.
Oakland’s allowed just eight sacks all year, the second fewest in the league behind Pittsburgh (7), which means a Detroit pass rush that’s been inconsistent most of the year has their work cut out for them Sunday in Oakland.
“You just have to do the best you can as far as preparing and understanding that if he holds the ball just a second longer or whatever you still have to be prepared to be there and create some pressure,” Lions defensive end Trey Flowers said.
“We’ll continue to rush accordingly and try to get pressure, but like you said, he’s leading the league in getting the ball out of his hands, so we understand that we still have to continue to rush.”
Flowers and his linemates are coming off a good rushing effort last week against the Giants. Flowers had two sacks and five hurries, but knows he and the rest of the guys upfront have to put together another good effort this week against maybe the best offensive line they’ve faced all year.
Carr was asked this week about the protection he’s been getting and what it means for their offense.
“You can be a completely different player when you have that kind of time, to be honest with you and you can throw different routes, have different schemes, have different game plans,” Carr told nbcsports.com on Wednesday. “You can do a lot of different stuff. We’re going to go as that offensive line goes, they are the best players on our football team by far. We’re going to go as they go.”
Lions linebacker Devon Kennard said he’s looking forward to the challenge this week of trying to disrupt Carr, and hopefully do what a lot of teams haven’t been able to do so far this year. Oakland’s the only team in the NFL with four games not allowing a sack of their quarterback.
“(The streak) is going to break eventually, at least defensively we’d like to think so, so why not us,” Kennard said. “They got some big ol' linemen and they’re blocking well and they get the ball out quick.”
This is also a game where Detroit’s defense is going to have to tackle well. If Carr continues to beat the rush by getting the ball out quick in some of those quicker and shorter routes, Detroit’s going to have to tackle and force him to hold it longer and push it down the field, potentially allowing their rush to get home.
TRACY WALKER AVAILABILITY
Safety Tracy Walker missed practice again Friday, which means he’s sat out the entire week of practice due to the knee injury he suffered last week vs. the Giants. That’s certainly not a good sign for his availability Sunday in Oakland.
Without Walker, the Lions would be undermanned at safety with veteran Tavon Wilson, rookies Will Harris and C.J. Moore and veteran Miles Killebrew healthy at the position. Killebrew played nine snaps on defense last week, the first snaps on defense he’s played since the 2017 season.
“For us, we’re always ready to adjust based on whoever’s out there,” Lions head coach Matt Patricia said Friday. “Sometimes safety depth isn’t necessarily just from the safeties. In those situations, we do what we can to kind of overlap those situations if he can’t play. But we’ll see as we go here and see how he feels through the course of today and tomorrow.”
Walker leads the Lions in tackles on the year and is the first defensive back in the NFL since 2012 to post 55 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble in his first seven games of a season.
RUNNING BACK DEPTH
Running back Tra Carson popped up on Thursday’s practice report with a hamstring injury that made him a limited participant in practice.
His injury is certainly worth monitoring, as it leaves Detroit with just two healthy running backs – Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic – on the 53-man roster. The Lions re-signed running back Paul Perkins to their practice squad Friday, and depending on the severity of Carson’s hamstring injury, could add him to the active roster before they head to Oakland Saturday afternoon.
Carson was Detroit’s leading rusher last week in the team’s first game without starter Kerryon Johnson, who was placed on IR with a knee injury. Carson carried it 12 times for 34 yards. The Lions gained just 59 rushing yards total against the Giants last week.