Derek Carr’s cold-weather stats are worth taking into account for the New York Jets
One of the most common criticisms levied upon Derek Carr – especially as it pertains to his viability for the New York Jets – is his brutal track record when playing in cold weather.
Carr was born in Bakersfield, California, and he went to high school in Sugar Land, Texas. He went to college in Fresno, California, and he has played all of his NFL home games in Oakland or a dome in Las Vegas. Cold weather is not something he is used to and the numbers show it.
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Here are Carr’s career stats in 10 games (9 regular season plus 1 playoff) where the maximum temperature was no higher than 40 degrees:
- 2-8 record
- 384 attempts
- 218 completions
- 2,148 yards
- 11 pass TD
- 12 INT
- 1 rush TD
- 7 fumbles (3 lost)
- 12 total TD/15 total turnovers
- 214.8 yards per game
- 5.6 yards per attempt
- 56.8% completion rate
- 69.2 passer rating
- Raiders scored 14.0 points per game on offense
It goes without saying that these are terrible numbers. But it’s worth taking into account the quality of the opponents Carr faced in those games.
Here is the list of Carr’s opponents in his max-40-degree games, including their final record from that season and their final ranking in defensive DVOA:
- Week 17, 2014: at Denver (12-4, #4 defense) – L 14-47
- Week 17, 2015: at Kansas City (11-5, #8 defense) – L 17-23
- Week 14, 2016: at Kansas City (12-4, #13 defense) – L 13-21
- Week 16, 2017: at Philadelphia (13-3, #5 defense) – L 10-19
- Week 13, 2019: at Kansas City (12-4, #14 defense) – L 9-40
- Week 17, 2019: at Denver (7-9, #13 defense) – L 15-16
- Week 13, 2020: at NY Jets (2-14, #21 defense) – W 31-28
- Week 15, 2021: at Cleveland (8-9, #11 defense) – W 16-14
- Wild Card, 2021: at Cincinnati (10-7, #19 defense) – L 19-26
- Week 16, 2022: at Pittsburgh (9-8, #12 defense) – L 10-13
This is an incredibly hard slate of games. Seven of the 10 teams had a winning record, and their overall combined record was 96-67 (.589). Eight of the 10 teams had a top-14 defense, and their overall average ranking in defensive DVOA was 12.0. And, of course, all 10 games were on the road.
Here is a look at Carr’s numbers in each game.
While the difficulty of Carr’s schedule in these games does not fully excuse him for posting such bad numbers, it does cut him some slack. There aren’t many quarterbacks who would light it up against this slate of opponents.
Still, Carr should absolutely be expected to do better than a 69.2 passer rating, 57% completion rate, and 14.0 points per game in any 10-game slate regardless of the opponents. However, the applied context makes his struggles in these games more understandable. It presents the possibility that his lackluster production in these games had more to do with the teams he faced than the weather.
After all, Carr was decent in the three cold-weather games he played against teams that finished the year with a losing record. Here are Carr’s numbers from the 2019 game at Denver (7-9), the 2020 game at New York (2-14), and the 2021 game at Cleveland (8-9):
- 2-1 record
- 131 attempts
- 82 completions
- 978 yards
- 5 pass TD
- 2 INT
- 1 rush TD
- 1 fumble (1 lost)
- 6 total TD/3 total turnovers
- 326.0 yards per game
- 7.5 yards per attempt
- 62.6% completion rate
- 91.7 passer rating
- Raiders scored 20.7 points per game on offense
It’s the games against good teams that crush Carr’s cold-weather stats. Here are Carr’s numbers from his seven cold-weather games against teams that finished with a winning record:
- 0-7 record
- 253 attempts
- 136 completions
- 1,170 yards
- 6 pass TD
- 10 INT
- 0 rush TD
- 6 fumbles (2 lost)
- 6 total TD/12 total turnovers
- 167.1 yards per game
- 4.6 yards per attempt
- 53.8% completion rate
- 57.6 passer rating
- Raiders scored 11.1 points per game on offense
Overall, I think Carr’s numbers in cold-weather games are definitely worth taking into account as the Jets ponder whether they should bring him to northern Jersey. They are too brutal to ignore.
While it’s not a significant enough concern to where it should scare the Jets away from pursuing Carr, I would not brush it off. The Jets not only have to play a few cold-weather home games per year, but they make yearly trips to Buffalo and New England, so Carr will have to handle more cold-weather games than ever before if he comes to the Jets. This concern is especially troubling when pitting Carr head-to-head against Aaron Rodgers, who has already proven over 15 seasons that he is unaffected by cold weather.
With that being said, it’s probable that Carr’s numbers in these games have more to do with how he performs against quality opponents than how he responds to cold conditions. If I were Joe Douglas and I saw these numbers, I would be more concerned with whether Carr can beat top teams on the road than whether he can handle the cold. That’s the main takeaway from Carr’s cold-weather stats.