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Lack of quality targets is driving Carr's rough start

What's wrong with David Carr? -- Jeff Barden, New York

A: I don't know that much is wrong with the Houston Texans' quarterback, other than the fact he ran into a buzz saw in Week One. He has gradually shown he can improve his accuracy. He completed 61 percent of his passes last year. That's good. He has a big-time arm. He has good mobility, but not as good as J.P. Losman's.

Carr did not come out of the gate sharp on Sunday. His second throw was forced along the sideline and intercepted by Troy Vincent. His third throw on a rollout to the left was overthrown to Andre Johnson. His sixth try was an overthrow.

However, his big problem is his receiving corps isn't good enough. Corey Bradford isn't getting it done as a No. 2 receiver. Jabbar Gaffney isn't totally healthy. But he's a No. 2 pick who has not been good enough as a slot receiver. So teams can shadow Johnson, and Carr doesn't have other playmakers to go to. The Texans try to counter this by moving Johnson around, into the slot. But he's an outside receiver, not a slot receiver.

It's Year Four for Carr, but he still needs a bit more help on the offensive line and at wideout. Will he be great when he gets it? That's the problem with quarterbacks. They cost a fortune, and it usually takes forever to find out if they're championship caliber.

Q: The Bills came out throwing against the Texans, but didn't they play it pretty safe with J.P. Losman's throws? -- Andre Reinmuth, Houston, Texas

A: Yes, they did, but it still was impressive that they had the confidence in Losman to call 11 passes versus eight runs (counting plays called back by penalty) on the first two drives. Offensive coordinator Tom Clements did a good job of getting Losman into a rhythm. His first three passes -- all completed -- were three-step drops. Four of the first six and seven of the first 15 passes were three-step drops. There also was a bootleg in the first 15, which is usually a safe throw. He only had two seven-step drops -- the bomb to Lee Evans and the TD pass to Jason Peters.

Whether it's a three-step drop or not, Losman still has to make the right read and go to the correct spot on the field. So I'd call it smart more than safe.

Q: The Bills kept seven wide receivers on their 53-man roster. My understanding is that five is the norm, and six is the exception. What kind of precedent exists for a team keeping seven wide receivers on the roster? -- Brian Skretny, Washington, D.C.

A: It used to be that virtually every team kept five receivers. Not any more, due to the extensive use of three- and four-receiver sets. Half the league -- 16 teams -- kept six or more receivers in Week One. Oakland has eight receivers on the 53-man roster.

The Bills were one of four teams with seven, along with the Giants, San Francisco and Tampa Bay. Arizona, Baltimore, Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, New England, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Seattle and Tennessee kept six. When Roscoe Parrish returns in a few weeks, the Bills will be able to go down to six if they need a roster spot elsewhere.

Bills beat reporter Mark Gaughan answers your football questions every Friday. Send your e-mails to or mail to Question Mark, The Buffalo News Sports Department, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, NY 14240.

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