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News

Carr Preparing for First Career Start

Posted Sep 2, 2014

Rookie QB Derek Carr spoke to the media after Tuesday's practice as he prepares to make his first career start against the New York Jets this Sunday.

Q: Were you surprised to learn that you were the starter or did you see it coming?

Carr: “To be honest, I was just excited. I wasn’t really thinking about, the more you guys get to know me, you know I’m not lying to you, I really wasn’t thinking about being the starter, being the backup. I was really focused on learning the offense the best that I could so that way, when I got on the field, whenever that time was, I could help this team win. Because that’s all I care about, is the Raiders winning. So, when he told me, I was excited but it wasn’t like I was thinking about it, is he going to tell me, is he not? It was really a surprise because I wasn’t thinking about it.”

Q: How has Matt Schaub been with you since the switch?

Carr: “Oh, he’s been great, nothing has changed. We were sitting there, as soon as I found out, the next morning I saw him walking into the quarterback room and he said, ‘Hey, congrats man.’ He shook my hand and I started just asking how he’s doing. How’s the family? How’s everything? Nothing has changed. In fact, I think he’s probably helped more because we’re game planning this week, reminding me of things during the meetings or during practice or when we get one-on-one time, just whenever around the facility, he’s really just been, ‘Hey, don’t forget, when they do this just remember this.’ He’s been great.”

Q: Do you credit him for helping you progress as a rookie quarterback?

Carr: “Yeah, absolutely. Obviously, I praise God for everything, every opportunity, everything I’ve been given, first and foremost. I was raised great, had some great coaches, had my brother, had my dad, to learn the game. But 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. Even during games, he may have just taken a sack, got hit. Usually if I get hit, I don’t want to talk to anybody, I’m mad. I’d ask him, ‘Hey, what was the call there?’ And he’d be like, ‘Oh yeah, it was this, this and this.’ I was like, ‘Oh, thanks,’ because he genuinely cared about me growing as a rookie.”

Q: What was your brother’s reaction when he got the news? Did he have any advice for you?

Carr: “He was fired up. He was excited for me. The whole family was excited, obviously, but at the same time it’s just football. It was an excitement, ‘Hey, congrats,’ and then we went about our lives. In our family, football is not everything. So it was cool, it’s a wonderful opportunity, but that was it.”

Q: Going on the road for the first regular season game, how do you control that emotion?

Carr: “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. So, he’s been great and helping me also, especially during games, answering any questions I have and all that. We have a great veteran group here, around this whole team, and so I just try to pick everybody’s brain. I told Charles [Woodson] and [Justin] Tuck, I’m going to bug them until they’re out of here, so I hope they get used to it.”

Q: You’ve had a lot of life experiences to help you become the mature person you are. How has that helped on the field?

Carr: “A lot. I know who I am as a person and when people think of Derek Carr, I don’t want them to think of, ‘He’s just a quarterback, he’s just a football player,’ because that’s not what I am. First and foremost, obviously I’m a Christian. I love my family, I’m faithful to them. I’m a husband, I’m a dad, I’m a brother, I’m a son, and then I just happen to play football. So, by going through what I went through in my life, I know who I am as a person, so when I step out on the football field, this is just fun for me. That’s why I got so excited in that first game, it’s just so fun to me. I get to be out here and we get paid to do this? We’re playing football. I think that that’s just everything that we’ve went through in our lives, in my family, it just makes football, whatever happens in football it’s just a game. It doesn’t matter if I go out and throw the three touchdowns against Seattle or I go out and throw eight picks, I’m going to be the same person. Though obviously as a competitor, I’m going to be mad, but I’m going to be the same person because football is never going to define who I am.”

Q: You’ve been watching film forever. What are all the things that Rex Ryan is going to present for you this week as a rookie quarterback?

Carr: “He’s got a great blitz package. He’s got, obviously, a lot of different looks that he’ll show. Me being a rookie, he’s probably going to want to show them all. I go in and expect, as much as I can, I expect everything. Then if something doesn’t happen, then I’ll be surprised. That’s how I have to prepare. I have to prepare for everything, even maybe for something he hasn’t shown but could show. Obviously I reach out to anybody who can help me. I called my brother because he’s played them seven times. I called him and said, ‘Hey, let’s talk Jets. You were there, you’ve seen them.’ So we talked. I picked his brain, took notes and that was it. Now I went about my business for the rest of the week, picked [Matt] Schaub’s brain, picked the coaches’ brain, so I expect a lot.”

Q: Is it possible to put so much in your brain that you do too much?

Carr: “For me, no. I don’t know how it works for anybody else, but I try and over prepare. Obviously, this is a different game but all I have to relate to is college. In college, I would over think. I would over think everything. Oh, they did this but they could do this, this and this. They did one thing but they could do five other things. That’s how I think, because when the game comes I don’t want to be surprised by anything. Obviously being a rookie, it might happen once or twice, hopefully it doesn’t, but I just try my best during the week to win the game.”

Q: When you think about the intangibles to have the guys rally around you and become the leader on the field, is that conscious thing or is that just a natural part of growing up as a quarterback that’s innate?

Carr: “I don’t know. For me, when I go out there, I’m so passionate about the game because I want kids, not just kids, people, to watch the game and see, wow that guy is really passionate about what he does, I want to know more about him. That’s what I try and do. If it correlates to being a leader or having intangibles, or whatever those things are, so be it. But for me, I just try and be the most passionate teammate that I can be. So when we score, when I’m so excited, I’m so excited because one of my best friends just caught a touchdown or one of my best friends just ran a touchdown. Those are the kind of things that get me excited because I like to see others succeed.”

Q: What are your thoughts heading out to New York a little earlier than usual?

Carr: “If Coach [Allen] took us out tomorrow, I’d be all for it. Whatever Coach Allen says, that’s what I go by. I go by the head coach’s word and I’ll always stand by that, no matter what. He’s our leader, he’s the guy that’s going to lead us. I’m excited to get out there early and be able to spend some time with teammates and those things. It’s just more time together, which is nothing but good for a football team. I’m excited to have that time together.”

Q: Do you feel like you’re ready for this type of responsibility?

Carr: “Yeah, the decision wasn’t mine to make, so I did everything I could so that if the people that made those decisions decide that then I hope so. I’m just going to continue to be myself. I’m not going to change, I’m going to be the same person throughout this whole thing. The responsibilities, the stresses and all those things, those things don’t matter to me. This isn’t stressful, it’s a game. I’m obviously going to put as much into it as I can, for my effort, I’m going to exhaust every opportunity that I can. But, stressed out and all those things, that will never happen.”

Q: Whatever disappointment there was not going in the first round, you seemed to put aside real quick when the Raiders picked you and you were here. Now that you’re the only rookie starting Week 1, do you feel any sense of validation?

Carr: “No, no. (laughing) Nope, I just came in here and I did my best to get on the field. Obviously, as a competitor, every college kid wants to go in the first round growing up, but 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. So, I can’t be upset at it at all.”

Q: Even though you say it’s just football, you grew up a Raiders fan. Does it mean a little bit more to be the starting quarterback now, kind of like a dream come true?

Carr: “Oh, yeah, no doubt. That kid in you, when you’re finally a starting quarterback, one of 32 people in the world doing this job, it’s really cool. Don’t get me wrong about me saying it’s just football, I love what I do and that’s why I’m so passionate, that’s why I give everything I have to it. I just say it just because it’s not going to define who I am. But, absolutely. I was very excited. Don’t get that wrong, I was so excited, because growing up my uncle was a Raider. I was so excited to be the quarterback, but in the end, I’ve got to go out and work. I can’t just, like ‘Ollie’ [offensive coordinator Greg Olson] says, ‘Don’t let this moment be your best moment as a NFL player.’ Just being told you’re the starting quarterback and then everything else is downhill after that. We want to make more great moments, but it was definitely a great thing, it definitely was.”

Q: What do you think you’ve shown the most since you came in here? Do you feel there is an area that you’ve really improved on?

Carr: “Just getting back to being under center. I messed up on footwork things today. There’s still things that everyone on that field has to work on, myself included. Especially being a rookie quarterback. This is one of the hardest jobs in the world, as other people say. There’s constantly things to work on. I need to get better every day. But, getting back under center, doing the play action, all of that just because I haven’t done it in two, two-and-a-half years. I think that would be the biggest growth just because I didn’t do it, I’d say that. For the most part, I feel like the coaches have been doing a great job of teaching me something and harping on me. I love when they stay on me about things, because I just want to get better. You can harp on me all day, if it’s going to help me and help this team win, I’m all for it.”

Q: Coach Allen said the attitude of this team has been being ‘all-in’ all offseason. What do you take from that mantra? Carr: “You’ve got be all-in in every aspect of your life, that’s how I take it. I’ve been around some good teams, I’ve been on some teams that weren’t good at all and I was the quarterback for all those teams. The one thing that I could say about the best teams that I was on, is that the people that were all-in to the program, on the field and off the field, and in life, was the best teams that I was on. Maybe not the most talented, but it was always the best teams that I was on because we would go out and play for each other. We weren’t playing selfishly, we weren’t playing because we wanted to be all-conference or now pro-bowlers or those kind of things. We were literally playing because we didn’t want to see the guy next to us fail. If we have that mindset, then it should be all good.”