Raiders' Jon Gruden: QB Derek Carr 'too aggressive' on costly late play

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Calling Derek Carr's fourth-quarter interception in the end zone a "painful turnover" in Oakland's 28-20 loss at the Miami Dolphins, Raiders coach Jon Gruden said his quarterback might have also been "too aggressive" with the play Sunday.

"I think, at times, he's trying too hard," Gruden said of Carr in his weekly media conference Monday. "But we'll talk about that extensively here in the next couple hours. But I thought he played really good under some very tough circumstances.

"I think sometimes he needs to learn a little more patience and I think he will. But I'm really excited about the way that he has played and improved and mastered this offense. We're getting closer. That was a painful turnover. We will address that, and we'll make the corrections."

On the play in question, the Raiders, who were trailing 21-17, were at the Dolphins' 13-yard line with 3 minutes to play and had been gouging the hosts on the ground.

And though it was first-and-10, Carr threw a jump ball to Martavis Bryant in the left corner of the end zone. With Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake, who ran right past backup right tackle T.J. Clemmings' attempted cut block, closing in for a big hit, Carr's pass was underthrown. Xavien Howard beat Bryant to the ball and hauled it in for his second pick of the day.

Carr said after the game he would call the same play again.

"I just saw one-on-one with Martavis," Carr said at the time. "Obviously, he was hot and he was doing some good things. I just gave him a chance, just like I have a hundred other times in my life. They ended up making a good play. It sucks, right? The outcome sucks, but I think, going back through in my head, getting one-on-one with that guy, I'd probably have to do it again."

Carr's other interception came on another first down, Oakland's first play of the possession, this one from the Raiders' 41-yard line in the first quarter. Carr threw a deep ball to Amari Cooper on a seeming scramble drill. Cooper, though, gave up on the route and Howard was there to haul in the pick.

"Terrible but not down," was how Carr described his postgame mood.

"Trust me, I know how to deal with adversity, and you don't do it by going in the dumps and stop working hard and give up. That's what I think soft people do and that's not what this team is. And that's not the way I was raised.

"When things get hard, when life gets hard, you put your head down and you grind and you make sure whatever you can do, you do better. And that's all. That's it."

Gruden, meanwhile, is feeling the heat from an 0-3 start to his second Raiders coaching tenure after spending the past nine years in ESPN's Monday Night Football booth.

He said he was remaining "realistic and optimistic" in the wake of the Raiders being outscored 37-3 in the fourth quarter thus far. Because while they are winless, the Raiders are a few plays away from being 2-1.

Yes, even after the Sept. 1 trade of holdout defensive end Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears for, among other things, a pair of first-round draft picks.

"It's hard to trade one of your best players, one of the best players in the franchise," Gruden said. "It's hard. It's hard on the players. We didn't get anything for him that's going to help us this year. Justin Ellis hasn't played. We've got a lot of guys on the defensive line that are out. We have had to replace basically the entire secondary, some of the linebackers. We are in the process of putting the pieces back together. That will be exciting."

The injuries to which Gruden referred: undrafted rookie kicker Eddy Pineiro was put on injured reserve with a groin injury suffered in the preseason, while his replacement, Mike Nugent, suffered a hip injury in Miami. The Raiders are bringing in kickers for tryouts this week.

Long-snapper Andrew DePaola was lost for the season with a knee injury in the opener; return specialist Dwayne Harris got banged up in Miami, as did right tackle Donald Penn, who suffered from concussion-like symptoms. Defensive tackles P.J. Hall and Ellis are also out with ankle and foot injuries, respectively, with Ellis on IR.

"I'm not going to give myself a report card right now," Gruden said. "I'm just trying to get better and trying to provide good, optimistic feedback to our football players. And we'll continue to compete.

"The results will happen. Might not happen this week, might not happen this month, next month, but we're going to get results here and we're going to get this Oakland Raider football team back on track and we just got to prove it."

Meanwhile, the suddenly resurgent Cleveland Browns (1-1-1) come to Oakland on Sunday, with new starter and No. 1 overall draft pick Baker Mayfield at quarterback.

"Mayfield is the real deal," Gruden said. "This young man can play."

Asked if he would have liked to have had the Heisman Trophy winner on his ESPN QB Camp show, Gruden smiled.

"If we don't start winning some games, maybe I can, know what I mean?" Gruden cracked. "Maybe I can."