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Saints' Derek Carr: Shoulder injury 'no excuse for us playing the way we did' in blowout loss to Bucs

Derek Carr suited up Sunday for the New Orleans Saints despite suffering an AC joint injury to his throwing shoulder in Week 3 that kept the quarterback out of practice early last week.

The results looked like a player dealing with an injury, as Carr finished the 26-9 Week 4 loss to Tampa Bay with 127 yards on 23-of-37 passing for a measly 3.4 yard per attempt average. He also took two sacks and lost a fourth-quarter fumble.

Carr, however, dismissed the notion that injury was the reason for the Saints' inefficient offense.

"That's no excuse for us playing the way we did today," Carr said, via The Associated Press. "Whatever it is that I have to do, I'll do it. I just don't want the shoulder to be an excuse for the way that we executed."

If you re-watch Sunday's Saints game on NFL+, you'll see more dinking-and-dunking than you would spending an entire day in a donut shop.

Carr attempted to stretch the field but came up empty each time. All five of his 20-plus air-yard attempts fell incomplete, including a 52.55-air-yard bomb to Chris Olave that Antoine Winfield Jr. broke up. Carr completed just two passes of 10-plus air yards, per Next Gen Stats, and 13 of his 23 completions came behind the line of scrimmage.

Through four games, the Saints' offense has four total touchdowns.

"It's a concern," head coach Dennis Allen said after the game. "As a staff we've got to do a better job of figuring out what we're going to be able to do, what we can do well, and we've got to be able to go out and execute those things because right now we're not scoring enough points and we know that."

If Carr's shoulder can't take the blame for New Orleans' decrepit scoring output, it's got more systemic issues.

"It's been two years since we had that offense that was rolling," running back Alvin Kamara said, per Saints Wire. "Now we're kind of in this rut of ... it is what it is right now. What you see. Like I said, we've got to have some conversations about something. Because I don't like losing."

Kamara's two-year comment is significant: That's when Pete Carmichael took over play-calling after Sean Payton stepped away.

Since then, the Saints have been an eyesore offensively, unable to generate consistency and struggling to involve their playmakers (i.e., Olave catching one pass for 4 yards on Sunday). The offensive line has been a sieve thus far, allowing 15 sacks in 2023.

These were issues signing Carr was supposed to help solve. His deep-ball propensity, theoretically, should have opened up the offense. Instead, it's the same amalgam of bad plays we saw last season with Andy Dalton largely under center.

In four games, the Saints have yet to score more than 20 points and are averaging 15.5 points per game, their fewest PPG in Weeks 1-4 since 2007 (12.7).

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