Second-year QB Derek Carr leads the Oakland Raiders into a veteran mini-camp today at the team's Alameda, Calif., facility. Just under a year ago, Carr was a wide-eyed rookie trying to find his way. Now, his infectious enthusiasm and natural leadership ability paves the way for the Silver and Black.
Although he is only in his second year in the NFL, Carr told SiriusXM NFL Radio that although he feels like a veteran now, there's much more to do and learn.
"Obviously there's a lot to learn, so there's a lot more to grow, and all those good things," Carr said. "But from a standpoint of football knowledge and all those things as you well know – you learn so much just in that first year and I feel, I don't want to say comfortable, but I feel better about going into it this year because I know what to expect."
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Last season Carr became the first Raiders rookie quarterback to not only start the regular season but start every game. He says he learned quite a few lessons along the way. "One that really stands out to me is just how close the games are, and how much each play makes a difference," Carr explained. "You can get away with having a couple of bad plays in college and still go out and beat a team by 30; well, that doesn't happen in this league. You have to be efficient on every single play. When you want to take a chance, it really is a risk, because you can't ever have that play back in this league. One of the things that I learned the most is just the efficiency part of it, and I'm really looking forward to getting better at that, and growing, and doing a lot better at managing the games."
When Carr arrived in Oakland after the 2014 NFL Draft, Matt Schaub was ahead of him on the depth chart. By the end of training camp and the preseason, Carr had earned the starting job. With Schaub's recent release, Carr is looking forward to leading the team into the 2015 season.
"I'm excited, especially about our quarterback room. We have a real close-knit group, and I'm fired up to just get back out there and kind of know what to expect this time," Carr said. "You can go out there and you can lead how you lead. You can be yourself, and I'm fired up most about that."
Carr is excited to play for Head Coach Jack Del Rio and Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave. "They don't want to rebuild. They want to compete right now for our division and I love that," Carr said. "That's just one of the ways they've showed it and the terminology has actually been really nice and really easy to learn for myself and for my teammates. I think that's going to bode well for us come the season."
Speaking of Coach Del Rio, Carr has been impressed by what he's experienced so far. "I expect that he wants everything to be excellent. He wants everything to have a purpose. He wants everything to be a competition no matter what we're doing," Carr said. "He wants everyone to always compete to win and to be great at it. Good enough isn't just good. We have to be great and that's one thing I've seen from him so far, and that's just one thing I've seen him do around the building."