Q: What has the offseason been like for you? I know you said after the end of the season, you only wanted to take a couple of weeks away and then get back into it.
Carr:"Yeah, so I took a couple weeks off and I was back into it while the playoffs were still going on. It was good to get back into it and have, like, a real offseason, not combine training and, 'Are you going to land here? What's your positives,' or your strengths and weaknesses – all those kinds of questions. I didn't have to worry about any of that. I just had to go out and train. I knew what I was training for this time. That was nice, these past – what is it – four months now, to just be out there knowing what I need to work on to help make my game better at the NFL level, instead of working on my 40 start. Hopefully, I'll never have to run another one."
Q: How much time have you spent with offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave?
Carr:"As much as I can. Obviously, I didn't know there were so many rules, also. This is my first real offseason, so I didn't know there were so many rules about you can't be here talking about these things and that. I've just really been trying to get to know [the coaches] as people. That way, I'll want to know his coaching style – him and [quarterbacks] coach [Todd] Downing – our expectations of each other, all those good things, stuff that we're allowed to talk about and all that. When we hit, really, tomorrow, it's nothing new. It's not like, 'Hi, I'm Coach Downing. I'm your quarterback coach.' We already know each other and we're just going to hit this thing rolling."
Q: How frustrating is it to not be able to get into the playbook or work with your coaches during the offseason?
Carr:"It's so hard, but I will say this: It's really hard, but it's nice this time, because at least I get an extra month, or really a month and a half, of getting to learn the playbook, whereas last year – and a month and a half if forever. You can pretty much nail it down, a good majority of it at least, in three to four weeks, I feel like. This will be really nice, to have this part of it to where I can just nail it. That way, when we hit those mini-camps and all those things, I'm out there just teaching. I'm out there being exactly who I want to be."
Q: Are you excited about the more up-tempo style Musgrave might be bringing in?
Carr:"Oh, yeah. I'm really excited, because just what I've heard and the things that we've talked about and what I assume, it is what I did at Fresno. 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. Let's build it around you and let's put pieces there that you feel comfortable with,' and all that kind of stuff. So it's been awesome. It's been anything I could have dreamed of. If you had told me we'd be in this position where they're trying to do things to help me out and all those things and help build this thing around me, if you told me that a year ago, I'd sign up no matter what. This is the plan that I had in mind and now it's coming to fruition, so it's pretty cool."
Q: There have been major changes this offseason, including an entirely new coaching staff and many renovations around the building. Does it feel like you have the opportunity to start over in any sense?
Carr:"Yeah, it's kind of weird. This is my third head coach in one year. It hasn't even been a year yet. So that, I'm learning the business side of things, I guess. In that sense, but I don't feel like a rookie. I don't. I didn't feel like a rookie as soon as Rex Ryan brought a couple of double-zero blitzes at me in the first week, I didn't feel like it. This time, going into it, I feel like I can deal with it. There's going to be some things, but there's nothing really out there that's going to just throw me off and be like, 'Well, I've never dealt with this before,' because I feel like in just this past year, I've kind of dealt with everything. So that's kind of nice, but dealing with something new or anything like that, these coaches are so – I don't know how to explain it – this coaching staff, just walking around and talking to them, it's like a family. You feel like you've known them for like 20 years when you just go up and talk to them. I don't feel like it will be that big of a transition, really, for our team."
Q: You were critical of yourself on a week-by-week basis, but did you go back and review the season in totality?
Carr:"Oh, yeah. The things that I wanted to go back and see, I did. Those were the things I needed to work on. My whole mindset, you guys know, is I want to win Super Bowls. How do we do that? Me, by myself, the way I do that is I have to get better personally. What do I need to get better at? I don't want to go back and watch a highlight tape. Those are fun and make people feel good, but I'm not really into that. I'm trying to look at what I did wrong, at decisions I made, maybe the way I prepared – everything rookies go through, all those things. But how can I take what I did, and the things I did good, and build on that and make it into who I am as a player. You're not going to do it in just two years. It's going to take a little time, but my jump from my first year to my second year is crucial to me, so that's what I did. I went back and said, 'What do I need to get better at?', because the NFL game is way different than college. It's not like, 'Oh, I'll just keep doing the same thing.' You can't. I've got to change some things and I'm looking forward to seeing how that works."
Q: Was there any one thing you identified that you want to improve on this year?
Carr:"Really, just understanding situations, because there were a couple of times where I felt like I should have done something different. It wasn't anything big, nothing that anyone would go, 'Really, that's what you're mad at?' It wasn't anything big, but to me, it's a big deal. I want to be perfect. I'm going to strive to be perfect knowing I'm never going to be there, but I'm going to strive for it. I'm going to strive to be that way. So it's just little things, little decisions that I may have made during games that I look and say, 'If I did it this way, maybe we could have gotten a bigger play.' We don't know, but maybe we could have – the percentage would be yes, we could have – maybe some checks that I made and all those things. But that's what was so awesome with 'Olie' [former offensive coordinator and current Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Greg Olsen], is he gave me full control. He let me learn it all in one year and not a lot of people let rookies do that. So he let me go out there and do it and he let me learn, and I'm very thankful for that."
Q: The one thing a lot of people look at is your low yards-per-attempt average. Do you look at that and think it should go up as well?
Carr:"There's going to be times we do different things and all that, but I'm going to continue to be smart with the football. I'm going to continue to take care of it, because that's how you win football games. You've got to take care of the ball and getting it out quick. Fumbles, sack-fumbles, you can't have those. You can point fingers and say who it's on, but maybe I could have gotten it out quicker and all those things. I'm always going to put it on me, so I'm always going to try and get the ball out quick. I'm going to push the ball down the field. I'm going to do those things. It's a team game, so I don't get caught up in stats, because there's a lot that goes into that. Take the St. Louis game. For whatever reason, it got out of hand. Well, they were playing cover-two and cover-three the whole game and really soft, so there really weren't throws down the field to make. When I would try and make one because I know we needed some big plays and all that, trying to do too much, it would get picked off or something would happen. I know who I am as a player. I know how I should play the game. Those are little moments where I said I can't look at a stat in that sense, because the game is totally different."
Q: How did you hold up physically throughout last season and how important will the strength and conditioning program be going into your second year?
Carr:"It's extremely important. I'm mad that I had to miss that [preseason] game [at Green Bay], because I was ready to play. The coaches were just looking out for me. I didn't want to miss any. Number one thing to me is the strength and conditioning portion of it is so important, because of the hits we take, especially at our position. You never see who's hitting you really, so you've got to be ready at all times and you have to be in shape and all those things. My whole mindset this offseason was to take where my body was and just stay at that weight, stay at that size, that speed, but if we can make little bits better, but make it stronger make it more lean, make it more cut. Anything I can do, but staying at that same weight, that's what I was trying to do. So I've gotten drastically stronger than I was this time last year, so hopefully it'll pay off. There are freak things that happen in football, we all know that, but it was really a blessing to stay healthy, especially in a rookie year. You don't see half the guys that are hitting you. I got hit a couple times, I didn't know where they came from to be honest with you, because you didn't know what was going on yet. The strength and conditioning part is very important."
Q: How much more important will OTAs be for going into your second year?
Carr:"It's so important, and the nice thing, too, especially when 'Olie' and 'Flip' [former quarterbacks coach and current Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo] left, what they told me is, 'The nicest thing about this time, it's your team now.' There's nothing to worry about, like 'When am I ever going to play? Is it this year? Next year? Three years?' It's your team. It's your turn to be the leader, be yourself, because when I came in, out of respect I can't go out and just be the alpha male, dominant leader, because it really wasn't my team yet. I was going to come in and be myself, but I couldn't assert my leadership role and all that. Now, it's really nice and it's going to make it a lot easier to go out and be myself. I don't have to come in and hold back a little bit. I can come in and be myself from the beginning and lead our team."
Q: Did you talk to Matt Schaub after he left? Have you met Christian Ponder?
Carr:"Yes, I talked to Schaub. I still talk to Schaub. He was [instrumental] in helping me and teaching me and being here early with me to watch film with me – he really taught me what I was looking at – and to bounce questions off and all those things. I told him just how thankful I was. I told him how much he meant to me. It's all true, how much he truly means to me and his family and everybody. He has some really nice things to say back and all those things. I'd get to talk to him and I just let him know how thankful I was, especially the situation. The situation wasn't he thought it was. It wasn't what I was told it was going to be when I first got here. So we just dealt with it together though, which was really cool. It created a pretty good friendship and that was really cool. Then with Christian, since you asked that, I did get to meet Christian when he was here on his visit. I actually was here working out and I got to meet him and talk to him. He's awesome, a really good guy, strong faith. His family is very important to him. We have a lot of similarities, and so it's going to be really nice to take what he's learned, to learn from him and use it in my game, whatever I can take from him and learn from him. I'm going to try and drain him of his energy, asking him questions and everything. I just want us to win. Whatever I can do, whatever I can ask to help when I get out there and play, that's what I want to do."
Q: Can you recount your first conversation with Head Coach Jack Del Rio?
Carr:"The first thing I thought is, 'Oh, he played before.' That's the first thing I thought. Really, with our whole coaching staff, we'd win a lot of fights with our coaching staff. The first thing I thought was that, and then the second thing was, 'This guy really cares about this organization.' That was really my one takeaway. I said I could really tell that this guy cared about me as a person, and I could really tell that he cared about the Raiders winning Super Bowls. That's what I got from it. It wasn't him just leaping at another head coaching job or anything like that. He really wanted to be here. That's what I've been telling people about a lot of things when people ask me questions. I just want people that want to be here. I want people that want to be here and want the Raiders to win, and he's definitely one of them."
Q: There has been speculation that you guys might take a wide receiver with the first pick in the draft. How much attention do you pay to the draft, and do you think it's important to get a young, potential No. 1 receiver for you to grow alongside?
Carr:"If that's what [General Manager] Mr. [Reggie] McKenzie thinks, I'm all for it. People have asked me, I get the question a lot throughout town, [Amari] Cooper or [Kevin] White? My answer is, the best player available. I don't mind who it is. Again, I want whoever we pick to come in here and help us win Super Bowls. If we take a receiver, great. He's going to know my expectations. If we don't' take a receiver, that guy is going to know my expectations. I don't care who it is. I'll be thankful for anybody that we get, but I'm not sitting there pounding the table, 'We need a receiver!' like this, because I love the guys that we have. A lot of those guys have made a lot of plays for me. I know the business of it. They're probably going to add a couple, that's just how it goes. But at the same time, the guys I played with compete really hard, so it's going to be hard for those guys to make the team. I'll be fired up to see whoever we get. I'm going to be paying close attention to picks one through seven, and I'm going to welcome all of those guys to our team as soon as they get picked."
Q: How do you feel about the additions you guys have made so far in free agency?
Carr:"Oh, I'm fired up about it, especially thinking schematically about how those guys fit, their game. I'm fired up. I think that we've done a great job, I really do. Our whole locker room feels that way. Our whole locker room felt going into the offseason, free agency and the draft, that we're close. We became a team at the end and once we started playing like a team, we saw what we could do and then we saw how many games we lost that were so close when we weren't a team. We felt that we were pretty close. We just needed a couple more players, a couple more guys to fit some spots. We'll hit the thing rolling from there, but we felt really good about it."
Q: Coach Del Rio said one of his immediate, short-term goals is to win the division and he believes the team is close. Do you agree that you guys are close to contending for the AFC West title?
Carr:"Absolutely. I guarantee you, whoever you talk to on our team feels that way. Our top two goals, we want to win the division and win the Super Bowl. That's all I'm playing for now. If we fall short of that, then to me, I need to work harder. That'll always be my mindset. Even when we do reach those goals, my mindset will be, 'OK, I need to work harder to get another one.' That's just my mindset and that's how I'll always be. I totally agree with him. I agree with Coach [Del Rio] that we need to. With the draft coming up, even with these free agent players, you don't know who's going to make the [team], but hopefully those guys can come in here, be good teammates. That's what we care about in the locker room, be good teammates and go out and make plays. All we want to do is win. We became a team last year, but it's time to take it up quite a few notches."
Q: There has been a lot of turnover. How important is it in the offseason to kind of bond as a unit and build chemistry, especially as a leader on the team?
Carr:"This is really when you become a team, when you start getting all of these added pieces and you start working out with each other you see someone push through on a set working out and you see guys encouraging him to earn that lift, or when we go out and throw at a random location. When we're pushing each other and teaching each other and all those things, that's when you become a team. When I set up an event and our whole team shows up and we go do something together, that's where we start to build it. Last year's team is done. I know we've referred to that, so now, we're moving on. Whatever our record was, it is what it is. But now, everyone is 0-0 and our focus is to become the most close-knit team that we can be, while at the same time going out there as a unit and winning football games. So I agree with you, I think this is probably the most important time.
Q: There has been some change at the running back position. How much will you lean on a veteran guy like Marcel Reece?
Carr:"Marcel actually texted me right before I walked in here, so I was talking to him and Latavius [Murray], I've talked to him all offseason. I've talked to Trent [Richardson], kept in touch with him. I'm excited to get around Roy [Helu, Jr.]. It's going to be really exciting to see what those guys can do, especially in this offense. I'm really excited to watch those guys work in this offense. Like I said, I don't care if we run it 60 times a game and we go 1-for-1 [passing]. It doesn't matter for me, I just want to win the game. I hope that they're the best group in the league, I really do. Like you said, when we were able to get the runs going and all of that, and 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. That's why I don't get caught up into it. If I'm missing passes, it's not going to help them run the ball. I've got to complete the open receiver. I've got to hit the open receiver so we get those guys out of the box, that way we can run the ball. So it's a team thing, but the guys that we've added and the guys that we have here, I'm really excited bout, especially in this offense.
Q: What is it about the offense that has you so excited?
Carr:"That's hard to say. I think it really is the familiarity. 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. This kind of offense is very heavily relied on playmakers. Coach is going to draw up the long one and then we've got to make plays. That's what you want, so as long as we can do that, we're going to work towards that, we should be good. It should be a fun year."