The defensive end signed with the Raiders on Wednesday, potentially an answer to their pass-rushing problems.
The Raiders worked out Carter twice, once in training camp.
"I was ready the first workout and they saw what they needed to see," Carter said. "They were just honest with me saying, 'Hey, we're still kind of figuring out what needs to be done, but continue to stay in shape.'"
With that said, let's look at a few reasons why Carter's addition to Oakland was a smart move for Dennis Allen's squad.
Defensive Line Depth
It never hurts to have depth at any position, but perhaps none more important than along the defensive line. For one, it adds to a team's pass rush in a quarterback-dominated league and provides personnel options depending on the game situation.
With other veterans like Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly, Matt Shaughnessy and Lamarr Houston, Carter will thrive in the rotation. After all, the Raiders also rank just No. 20 against the run and No. 26 against the pass.
Allowing an average of 381 total yards per game so far, Oakland has also only recorded three sacks. So whether it's stuffing more against the run or applying more consistent quarterback pressure to help the coverage, Carter will significantly benefit the Raiders defense.
Before having his 2011 season cut short, Carter was enjoying arguably his best year as a pro. Having accumulated 52 tackles and 10 sacks, Carter also forced two fumbles and had five run stuffs.
Though only playing in fewer than 14 full games, he was consistently making plays in the backfield for Bill Belichick. As last season progressed, the New England Patriots may have been vulnerable against the pass, but they improved because of the reliable pass rush.
Carter can do multiple things on the edge and his experience alone allows for varying fronts. He can beat anyone one-on-one, draw double-teams and occasionally sink into coverage to wall off a quick slant or tight end pop-pass.
His presence gives Allen the luxury of going with a 3-4 front to mix up the schemes since Carter did just that in New England. The Pats versatility put him in a two- or three-point stance and against favorable matchups because of Belichick's 1-5-5 and 3-4 fronts.
Now, Oakland obviously doesn't have to get as broad with the defensive play-calling. Nonetheless, Carter provides the opportunity to utilize a 4-3 over/under or 3-4 in specific situations and that's only to the Raiders' advantage.
Along with the NFL being a pass-happy league, the Raiders needed Carter because of their difficult schedule.
So, Carter simply helps provide a stronger pass rush and the ability to slow down Denver's running game. Elsewhere on the schedule, Oakland sees the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens outside the division.
In short, that's Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Andy Dalton and Joe Flacco, along with Manning and then Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers. And if the Raiders don't get constant quarterback pressure in those games, the pass defense will get torched.
Fortunately, Oakland now has Carter to rely on up front and his addition will force these quarterbacks—among others—to get rid of the ball sooner. The Raiders offense, as we saw against the Pittsburgh Steelers, is capable of moving the ball and controlling the clock against anyone.
Now if the defense can slow down some of these explosive offenses, we'll see the Silver and Black in the postseason mix later on.
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