Rookie Carr ready to lead Raiders
Matt Schaub has officially lost his job, but he certainly hasn’t shown any hard feelings — according to the rookie who took his place.
Derek Carr described the scene in a press conference Tuesday, when the newly-anointed quarterback walked into his first quarterback meeting following the announcement:
“He said, ‘Hey, congrats, man,’ and shook my hand. I started asking how he was doing, how the family was doing. Nothing has changed. In fact, I think he’s probably helped me a little more this week because we’re game-planning.’’
Carr was excited and gregarious when addressing the media for the first time since being named the starting quarterback. Part of the excitement no doubt has to do with fulfilling a childhood dream of playing for the team he rooted for as a child growing up in Bakersfield.
Controlling that emotion without sacrificing his youthful exuberation is something Carr will be working towards:
“I’m obviously going to be excited, but, as “Wiz” [Stefen Wisniewski] tells me all the time, if we can just keep
getting less and less rookie, we’ll be good.”
It would be hard to blame the veteran Schaub for feeling slightly irked after losing his starting position before a single regular-season snap, especially considering the Raiders traded for him to be their opening day starter.
Schaub was unable to play in the most recent preseason game due to a sore elbow. The injury couldn’t have come at a worse time, as Carr strung together a three-touchdown performance that proved to be the catalyst for the switch.
When approached at his locker, Schaub put the team first, and said it was his duty to help the new starter:
“I’m definitely disappointed but it wouldn’t do me or the team any good if I just stood here and felt sorry for myself. I only know how to handle things one way. That’s to move forward, stay productive and get myself ready each do so I’m prepared if called upon.’’
Allen reiterated that Schaub would be the backup for Sunday’s game against the Jets. Schaub said that he is “absolutely” healthy.
Ironically, Carr credits Schaub for mentoring him throughout the preseason, something that has continued this week:
“When I got here, ‘Schaubby’ [Matt Schaub], I don’t want to say take me under his wing, but he said, ‘If you need
anything, just ask.’ So, I wasn’t scared to ask and once he saw that I really cared about what we’re doing here, he
just opened up and full on helped me with anything, any questions. “
Carr is the only rookie quarterback who will start Week 1 after being the fourth quarterback selected. It’s not uncommon for NFL players who were passed up to use the experience as motivation, but Carr is happy he ended up in Silver and Black:
“As a competitor every kid wants to go in the first round. Some people didn’t see it that way. I’m glad they didn’t because I ended up in a great spot, the exact spot that I wanted to be. I can’t be upset at it at all.’’
Head coach Dennis Allen said he first became aware of Carr as a potential draft pick during the Senior Bowl and was impressed with his athletic skill. It wasn’t until the staff began working with him during camp that they saw the intangibles of an NFL quarterback:
“After going through that whole process, it was evident to us that he was very mature for his age and that he had a very good understanding of offensive football. He had a good understanding of protections. I’m sure a lot of that had to do with his relationship with his brother. That was kind of where we first noticed it and then obviously, since he’s been here, he’s continued to get better and better, really, in all areas.”