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Derek Carr's inability to be under center an 'issue'

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Derek Carr's injured pinky didn't keep the Oakland Raiders out of the playoffs and hasn't hindered his passing ability, but it's become a problem in the red zone.

Since dislocating his pinky finger, Carr has taken snaps exclusively from the shotgun or pistol formation. (Carr actually lined up under center for one play Sunday versus the Chargers to try to draw defenders offside on a first down from midfield. It worked.)

"Yes, it is somewhat of an issue," coach Jack Del Rio said of not being able to take snaps under center, via ESPN.com. "It is not ideal. Being completely honest about it, it is an issue that we are working through, but it is the way we're choosing to work through it right now.

"At some point, we will feel better about going under center, we will; but until then, we'll execute the best we can out of the formations we feel most comfortable with."

Playing exclusively from shotgun or pistol becomes more difficult in the red zone. It's tough to be successful on power run plays from those formations in the restricted space near the goal line. Not going under center can also throw off timing on certain routes. 

Sunday, the Raiders scored one touchdown in seven red-zone chances (to be fair, one trip was just three kneels) versus San Diego, including two turnovers.

Outside of a second-half explosion against the Buffalo Bills, the Raiders have struggled to put points on the board since Carr's injury. The past two weeks Oakland has averaged 16.0 points per game, 154.5 passing yards, 294.5 yards per game and 4.4 yards per play (compared to 28.8 PPG, 277.1 PY, 391.7 YPG, 5.93 YPP in previous 12 contests). The Raiders have scored 41 total points in 10 of the past 12 quarters.

Despite the red-zone struggles, the Raiders will dance into January with a dangerous squad. Each week is another for Derek Carr to get healthier. Perhaps at some point he will take snaps under center and reduce that "issue" to dust.

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