Democracy Dies in Darkness

Early Lead

Raiders, Derek Carr dispute NFL wife's claim that anthem protest clash led to injury

By Cindy Boren

November 8, 2017 at 9:31 AM

Derek Carr settles in behind his offensive line. (Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images)

Miko Grimes, the controversial former radio personality and outspoken wife of Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes, ripped the cover back on the relationship between quarterbacks and linemen, claiming that the Oakland Raiders let quarterback Derek Carr get hit and hurt because of his opposition to national anthem demonstrations against police brutality and social injustice.

“[Carr] was against [the offensive line] protesting. And they had a fight in the locker room before that Monday night game with the Redskins,” she said in a “Breakfast Club” appearance. “They were fighting in the locker room, and that’s the only all-black offensive line in the NFL is the Raiders.

“Derek Carr is a Bible thumper to the fullest. And so he was basically trying to force the players to read the Bible before the game, and do all this stuff, and they were like, ‘No, that’s you.’ And so he was so upset about it, when the whole offensive line said they were going to kneel, he was like, ‘No, you’re not kneeling. This is America, you’re going to stand for the flag.’ And they got in a fight in the locker room, so when they came out to play, they basically had a plan.”

Related: [NFL not interested in having mediator join talks with players over anthem protests]

The Raiders have clapped back hard in denial, with offensive lineman Donald Penn tweeting: “It’s crazy how people will make up lies and tell a story so false and untrue 2 get them some attention I hope it was worth it all lies.” Punter Marquette King added: “Folks tryin’ to come up so hard just t build a following that they gotta create fake news…smh.”

Cornerback Antonio Hamilton tweeted that “A lie don’t care who tells it as long as it’s told. People will do and say anything just to get a few mins of fame. Almost ever [sic] word was false.” He went on to say that Carr “is a great man of Christ who isn’t afraid to express and show his love for Christ.”

Darren Carr, Derek’s brother and a football coach at Bakersfield Christian High School in California, tweeted: “Ya…totally see my brother saying that. #5MinutesOfFame next.”

The quarterback himself responded in cheeky fashion later in the afternoon, highlighting a line from the Bible on social media.

By midmorning, Grimes sought to clarify matters, tweeting: “I didn’t break this story OR say it was true. Do I believe it? YES.” And she added, “I’m ‘refreshing.’ Y’all don’t like fresh [expletive]? Y’all want stale, old, boring Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth type media? I’m not that!”

As for her assertions, let’s clear up a few things and examine the facts.

The Raiders-Redskins game was on a Sunday night, Sept. 24. Carr was sacked a season-high four times in the game, a 27-10 Redskins victory in Landover, Md. In seven other games this year, he has been sacked a total of six times.

Related: [Does Jim Irsay really think Andrew Luck’s problems are all in his head?]

Carr was not injured against the Redskins, but rather one week later in a game against the Broncos, suffering a broken transverse process that sidelined him for one game.

Mark Bullock, who specializes in NFL film analysis for The Post, re-watched all the passes from the game against the Redskins and wasn’t buying Grimes’s comment.

There were perhaps two plays that could be deemed as suspicious, but they can both be explained and dispelled rather easily.

The first was Junior Galette against Penn. Galette beats him inside with a swim move and Penn hardly gets a hand on him. However, I think this is just a great rush from Galette. Galette sets him up with a great jump and a fake jab step outside, forcing Penn to open his hips to the sideline, creating space for Galette to work back inside with his speed. Later in the game, Preston Smith, who isn’t as quick as Galette, also tried to beat Penn inside and got stonewalled. He tried to stutter step and work inside, but Smith’s fake is poor and he lacks the burst that Galette has, thus making him easier to block for Penn.

The second play that was suspicious was near the goal line. The Raiders only keep five in protection, while the Redskins only rush five, and yet the Redskins get a free rusher off the edge while Penn attempts to cut block Ryan Anderson. But this to me seems more like the protection call was for the whole line to slide to its right, anticipating a blitz to that side. If that was the case, then Carr would be responsible to anyone coming off the edge from the left.

I’d add that in the Redskins game there were two clear holds too, one that was called and one that wasn’t, both against RT Marshall Newhouse. The first was Ryan Kerrigan, working inside. The second one was called, when Galette tried a similar inside move with a bit more speed. I’d argue that if the whole offensive line agreed to let Carr get hit, then why would they so clearly hold rushers when beaten, instead of allowing the guys through to land hits?

Bullock points out that the Raiders appeared to be on a silent count most of the game and that most were delayed an extra second, if anything. Of course, problems with the snap count early in the season on the road — and this was Week 3 in FedEx Field — are not atypical. There were a few disagreements between Carr and the linemen after plays, but nothing unusual, Bullock believes.

Still, the pressure on Carr was significant. During Week 1 and 2 of the 2017 season, Carr was pressured on 14.3 percent of his drop backs, or one out of every seven pass attempts, according to The Post’s Neil Greenberg, citing Pro Football Focus. In Week 3, that spiked to 30.6 percent, or one out of every three attempts. That’s significantly higher that than the pressure Carr saw in 2016 (23.9 percent of drop backs) and almost triple what E.J. Manuel faced in Week 4 (11.1 percent), when he entered the game against the Broncos when Carr was hurt. Bullock adds that “the play Carr was injured on against the Broncos was a bootleg. The nature of bootlegs is that there might be a free rusher or two if the defense doesn’t bite on the run fake. Carr had ample time to get rid of the ball, but held on too long and tried to scramble. So that play definitely wasn’t on the offensive line.”

Related: [Kilgore: The Packers should tank]

Overall, Carr’s pressure percentage in Week 3 was not only higher than Manuel’s two appearances this season, it is also much higher than Carr has faced over the other games played in 2017.

Of course, Grimes has made a name for herself with bold claims like this. She ripped the Miami Dolphins when they cut her husband, was highly critical of quarterback Ryan Tannehill and went on a profane tirade against the league as a whole. She has also baited ESPN’s Sage Steele and formerly hosted a radio show, a stint that ended when she was arrested for battery of a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest outside Sun Life Stadium in 2015. Charges were later dropped.

As for the relationship between offensive linemen and quarterbacks, well, that can be complicated. A few years back, former Detroit Lions lineman Lomas Brown admitted that letting a quarterback get hit was an effective way to send a message — and more. “We were playing Green Bay in Milwaukee,” Brown said in 2012. “We were getting beat 24-3 at the time, and [Scott Mitchell] just stunk up the place, throwing interceptions, just everything. I looked at Kevin Glover, our all-pro center, and I said, ‘Glove, that is it.’ I said, ‘I’m getting him out of the game.’ So I gave it the set out, but I got the gator arms on the guy at the last minute. He got around me. He hit Scott Mitchell. He did something to his finger. I don’t know what he did to it, but he came out of the game. Dave Krieg came into the game. We ended up losing that game 27-24.”

Brown later apologized, in his own way. “I regret it happened,” he told USA Today. “Did I regret it happened then? No, I didn’t regret it happened then.”

Mitchell was shocked because he had, like most quarterbacks who have a higher pay scale than linemen, treated Lomas well, he believes.

“I was floored by that revelation,” Mitchell said. “I had Lomas in my home. I fed him dinner. I gave him and other offensive linemen gifts. I’m dumbfounded that he would do such a thing. I mean, people get hurt playing this game. People have died playing football, and for him to allow someone to take a shot at a teammate, that’s crazy.”

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After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead.

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