We’ve all heard the saying that the Raiders are the cemetery of the NFL. That Oakland is the place where great players go to die. Fortunately it seems like someone forgot to tell that to Derek Carr, because he donned the Black and Silver with every intention to succeed.
The plan wasn’t for him to start right away, but after he fearlessly attacked Richard Sherman in the Raiders 41-31 preseason victory over the defending Super Bowl Champions, completing 11-13 for 143 yards and 3 touchdowns, it became very apparent that they were dealing with an extremely rare and special player.
“I’m not 6’6, I’m not gonna run a 4.3, but I’ll outwork and out prepare anybody.” Carr said, in a press conference before the Scouting Combine.
Not just anyone can say those words with such confidence and still have a humble look on their face, but Derek Carr can, and it was that combination of personality traits that helped the Rookie write his name all over the record books.
He became one of only four rookie Quarterbacks (Robert Griffin III, Dan Marino, Russell Wilson) in NFL history to throw over 20 TD’s with 12 or fewer INT’s. He did all of that while attempting the 2nd most passes (599), and also completing the 2nd most passes (348) by a rookie QB.
It’s usually a horrible idea to just throw a rookie to the wolves, especially on a team with a sub-par supporting cast around him. However, it didn’t faze Carr. If anything it seemed to drive him forward. Even while losing 10 games in a row to start his career, he somehow managed to keep a smile on his face.
“Number one thing my brother has taught me. Your gonna be praised a lot, your gonna be criticized a lot. Ignore both, cuz neither matter. Just continue to work hard, be yourself, trust the people around you who care about you and continue to work hard like you do.” Carr said, in reference to former NFL Quarterback David Carr.
Beside just putting in the work, a lot of his success comes from the fact that he has ice in his veins. As a rookie, Carr was only sacked 10.3% of the time he was being pressured, which is the lowest ever among NFL Quarterbacks who have taken at least half of their teams snaps. He also led all rookies with 8 TD’s thrown under pressure and 10 in the 4th Quarter.
The scary part is that in his 2nd year the Raiders have chosen to surround the young gunslinger with a plethora of shiny new targets including arguably the best Wide Receiver and Tight End from this year’s draft. A brilliant start to a young career should only get better.
Carr has a face made for the Raiders, and that along with Brett Favre like tenacity, and Peyton Manning like composure, has made him a welcome leader in the locker room, and on the field.
The Raiders are determined to build a top NFL offense and it seems they have the right man at the helm. Now that they have given him some more weapons it could spell trouble for those who try to get in his way.