ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Derek Carr is not stretching the field.
He. Just. Isn't.
At least, not like expected, not after the big plays the Oakland Raiders' franchise quarterback connected on last season.
Consider: in Sunday's 17-16 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, Carr only attempted two passes of at least 20 yards downfield, per Pro Football Focus, and neither throw was completed. And through the five games in which he has played -- Carr sat out last Sunday's loss to the Baltimore Ravens with a broken bone in his back -- Carr's three completions on 10 such attempts both represent NFL lows among starting quarterbacks.
"You know, you definitely want more," Carr said of the deep ball. "We definitely want more. There's no doubt about that. We're going to work and we're going to get more. We are because we have a good group. I think we all believe that here. I think we all have seen it. We've seen how hard we work, and I think everyone in this circle sees we have a good group of guys that work really hard. It's not like we're going out there trying not to make it happen.
"Now, does that mean we're going to do anything differently or trying to force things? Absolutely not. That's where you get in trouble. That's something that I've learned in my career. You can't force it. You just have to work hard and let it happen."
Take Amari Cooper, the Raiders' purported deep threat who is enduring a slump that mirrors Oakland's four-game losing streak. He is averaging just 8.1 yards on his 18 catches and while he did have two big gainers wiped out due to penalty Sunday -- he would have had seven receptions for 78 yards -- Cooper finished with just 28 yards on five catches.
On the year, Cooper has been thrown 12 passes that have gone at least 10 yards and has just one catch, per the Associated Press. Last season, he had 27 catches on 49 such targets.
Are teams making it a point of emphasis to take away the deep ball?
"Yeah, they're definitely trying by the way that they ... in line and in play coverages and certain things," Carr said. "Those kind of things can be frustrating if you let it be or we can just try to solve problems. That's kind of something that we're learning now as we're seeing teams do that. We're figuring out ways, 'Hey, man, how can we still be able to do that and create explosive plays?'"
Figuring it out on a short work week would be a good thing for the Raiders with the Kansas City Chiefs in town for a prime-time affair on Thursday (8:25 p.m. ET, CBS).
Mixing in some play-action might not be a bad idea, either.
As PFF notes, the Raiders have used play-action on a league-low 12 dropbacks this season (the Pittsburgh Steelers are next with 25).
"Just be productive and score points," Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said.
"That's what the job is. Defensively, we want to hold them down. Offensively, we want to score more. Special teams, we want to be a positive contributor to field position.
"Bottom line is score more than they do. We have to find a way to score more."