When you ask one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time about their career, it isn’t always full of luster and glory.
Manning, speaking of his progression as a rookie quarterback and fast-forwarding into the present, said:
“Experience was my best teacher. There’s no question that I learned a lot of things that I would not have learned if I wasn’t in there playing. Learn from the good things and of course you’ve got to learn from the mistakes as well. But, I do think that being in there facing the live action is really the only way to learn how to play quarterback in this league, learn how fast defenses are, what different defenses do. It definitely was a learning experience.”
Manning entered the NFL in 1998 and threw for 3,739 yards with a 56.7 percent completion rate. The rookie struggled, the Colts went on to win a mere three games that season.
The next year, though, Manning and the Colts lost only three games, and there wasn’t a whole lot different that season than the progression of the quarterback.
That’s what the Raiders are aiming for, though Manning had numerous weapons at the time, and Carr doesn’t.
The 36th overall pick of the 2014 draft is on target to throw for 3,422 yards, 22 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Not bad, considering Manning threw 28 picks in his rookie season.
Carr has paid close attention to Manning in his young life, and admires the all-pros pre-snap checks and reads. But he said he won’t ‘Omaha’:
“There are things that I did in college, pre-snap, whether it’s check in place, fake hand signals, just all that mechanics. That stuff works, man. Obviously, the guy has been doing it for five billion touchdowns, he’s been doing it for a while. So, I did a little bit of that kind of stuff, but to be completely honest, I tried to take a little bit from everybody, but try to mold it, I want to be myself. I want to be my own guy to where kids can look up to me and say, ‘I want to be like that guy.’ Just like that.”
Oakland’s interim head coach, Tony Sparano, thinks he can be. Sparano believes Carr is playing at the same level as any young NFL quarterback.
Carr has some of the numbers to back it up, and claims the best numbers of any rookie quarterback thus far. Well, that’s if the winless team record is excluded.
The 23-year-old signal caller agrees with Manning that experience is the best teacher:
“Looking at it now, just the progress, the people that I’ve gotten to play against, the teams I’ve gotten to play against, seeing all these pressures. The best way to learn is by experience, for me. A lot of people learn in different ways, but for me I need to be out there and I need to see it. For me, it’s been great. I’m looking forward to getting some wins going on, going into the last half of the season. That’s really where I’m thinking about, but it’s been good.”
Sunday, Carr will have to fend off Demarcus Ware, Von Miller, Aqib Talib and other all-pro defenders in white uniforms. It’s not an easy task, and may prove as difficult as the Week 9 outing in Seattle where Carr threw two interceptions.
Denver is aware of how Carr has been playing, and Broncos head coach John Fox paid kudos to the rookie:
“I’ve seen a guy that can make all the throws. He appears, for a young player, to be very smart – I think ahead of his experience. He’s a factor as far as mobility with his speed. I think he’s a tremendous young player.”
Tight end David Ausberry (foot), cornerbacks T.J. Carrie (ankle), Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring) and Carlos Rogers (knee) , guard Gabe Jackson (knee) missed practice Wednesday, and rookie cornerback Keith McGill (groin) was limited. That makes for only two healthy cornerbacks on the Raiders roster, D.J. Hayden and Tarell Brown. That’s not a good situation to be in when you’re preparing to face Manning, and the tale of bumps and bruises is continuing to rock Oakland’s roster. … Oakland has already lost defensive end Lamarr Woodley for the season, along with safeties Usama Young and Tyvon Branch. Cornerback Taiwan Jones is also on injured reserve. Should so many defensive backs miss practice Friday, it’s fair to presume one or two roster moves.