Derek Carr had nothing but positive things to say about former Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson.
But he’s clearly excited about the man taking his place, Bill Musgrave, and the system he brings with him.
Carr said everything he’s heard about Musgrave’s system is reminiscent of his days at Fresno State:
“It’s something that I’m comfortable doing. The things that they want to do are things that I’m good at, and that’s really cool, that they want to take the offense and say, ‘Hey, let’s make it good at what you do.”
Musgrave’s system is uptempo, and will allow Carr to work the shotgun more than he did in his rookie season. He operated almost exclusively in shotgun in college.
The Raiders will do what many good teams have done for years — run their schemes to the strengths of the roster — and in the case of Musgrave’s system, it should translate well for all the young players.
Musgrave spent time with Jack Del Rio in Jacksonville 10 years ago, but more recently worked under Chip Kelly and adapted to his successful “blur” offense.
Kelly’s design was met with skepticism but eventually proved everyone wrong. His offense has been one of the most productive in years, and is based around college principles.
Carr says this familiarity is something he likes:
“The success that I’ve seen it have, the success that I’ve had in it, the success that a lot of the players that we have, have had in that kind of offense, it just kind of has brought in an excitement around our locker room that has guys fired up, pushing the tempo and all those things and putting the pressure on the defense and creating one-on-ones.”
The speed of the offense is crucial to what Musgrave wants to do. The Raiders will be on their own play clock for portions of the game.
The goal for these types of offenses is 25 seconds from the end of one play to the start of another. Rules provide for 40 seconds, barring a stoppage in play from penalty or timeout.
Kelly found success by signaling plays in from the sidelines and bypassing huddles. The Raiders might not go that route.
Several complications can occur as a result, though a productive off-season can curb most of the issues. As can a productive run game.
Oakland added Roy Helu Jr. in free agency, a pass catching back who has proven to be one of the most elusive in football, along with Trent Richardson, who is looking to rejuvenate a lackluster career.
Carr seems optimistic about the new run game, and the things that come with it:
“When we were able to get the runs going and all of that, then the play-action started to open up, then we start hitting those downfield shots, then we’re not worried about certain stats like yards per attempt. It’s a team game.”
The Raiders rushing struggles have been well documented, and it’s clear that while Carr says all the things a quarterback is supposed to say, he believes it all.
When Khalil Mack was speaking with reporters, Carr challenged the fifth-overall pick of the 2015 draft to a race for Tuesday — when offseason workouts can begin per the collective bargaining agreement.
Carr has discarded memories of a good rookie year marred with bad play. And at least some part of that is due to Musgrave and his uptempo offense:
“It’s a team thing, but the guys that we’ve added and the guys that we have here, I’m really excited about, especially in this offense.”
Jason Leskiw is SFBay’s Oakland Raiders beat writer and member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of the Oakland Raiders.