Derek Carr Clears Concussion Protocol

DECEMBER 8: Carr will once again avoid an absence following an injury. The durable veteran has cleared concussion protocol and will start in Week 14,’s Nick Underhill reports. Carr sustained a shoulder injury in Week 3 but returned the following week. He suffered a concussion in Week 10, but the Saints had a Week 11 bye. Despite a shorter time period to clear the protocol this week, Carr will be back under center when the Saints face the Panthers.

A two-concussion season presents concerns for the 32-year-old passer, but he has proven dependable throughout his career in terms of availability. Carr missed only two regular-season games due to injury during his nine-year Raiders run.

DECEMBER 4: For the second time this season, Derek Carr was forced to exit a game with an injury which has landed him in concussion protocol. The Saints’ starting quarterback is thus in danger of missing game action for the first time in his debut New Orleans campaign, but no firm decisions have been made yet on that front.

Head coach Dennis Allen said after Sunday’s loss that Carr was still being evaluated and that no thought had been given to shutting him down for the remainder of the season (h/t Matthew Paras of the Times-Picayune). Carr has been dealing with a shoulder injury he suffered earlier in the year, and Allen added the veteran also has a rib injury (via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network).

Playing much of the year at less than 100% health, Carr’s debut Saints season has not gone according to plan. Expectations were high for the four-time Pro Bowler after he arrived on a four-year, $150MM deal with $60MM guaranteed at signing. He has struggled this year, however, posting a passer rating of 89.4, one of several figures which falls short of his career averages. Carr has overseen an offense which has struggled to find a rhythm on the ground or through the air for much of the season.

The 32-year-old drew the ire of the home crowd during the Saints’ Week 13 loss as frustrations from a disappointing season boiled over. New Orleans could elect to make a short-term switch under center in a move which would see Jameis Winston take over the No. 1 role. The latter was similarly sidelined midseason in 2022 after he dealt with multiple injuries, remaining a backup to Andy Dalton even after being cleared to return.

“I think both of those are totally different situations,” Allen said in his post-game remarks“They’re both totally different situations. We’re not getting into what we did last year and what we’re doing this year, alright? Look, Derek’s in the concussion protocol right now. We will evaluate that as we go.”

Allen noted his “concern” over Carr suffering a concussion for the second time in one month. Winston would be in line to take on starting duties in Week 14 if the Saints were forced to keep the high-priced passer sidelined for at least one game, but a decision in that regard will depend in large part on Carr’s ability to clear the protocol. The Saints’ QB situation will be worth watching closely over the coming days.

View Comments (7)