As fans of the NFL, people tend to make player comparisons more than they should – myself included.
We’re all guilty of trying to predict who the next Tony Gonzalez, or Brett Favre will be, rather than just allowing said player to be themselves, and become one of the greats on their own.
When tight end Jared Cook joined the Oakland Raiders a season ago, the media was quick to ask him about the comparisons between Derek Carr and his former quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, which he answered politely by saying the two are both good in their own way.
An exclusive look at photos from the first day of Veteran Minicamp at Raiders HQ.
Tuesday, a similar situation occurred when recently-acquired wide receiver Jordy Nelson met with reporters for his press conference following the first day of Veteran Minicamp. Nelson, unlike Cook who spent just one season in Green Bay, spent nine seasons with the Packers, playing in 136 games, and built quite the rapport with Rodgers during that time.
Now that Nelson is in Oakland, people have wondered whether Nelson will have the same sort of production with Carr, who has been compared to Rodgers in the past, but the former Kansas State Wildcat is focused on gelling with his new signal-caller.
“It’s going great,” Nelson said in reference to his chemistry with Carr. “It’s just communication and getting the reps on the field. It’s no different than what Aaron [Rodgers] and I did for 10 years. We’ll continue to grind at it. It’s getting on the same page, understanding the playbook the same way and then getting the reps in on the field if it’s on air, one-on-one, seven-on-seven, team, all of that. It all adds up – just being comfortable with one another.”
While it’s not fair to compare Carr to Rodgers, No. 4 would be the first to tell you that he tries to emulate the Super Bowl champion on the field.
“When I was in college, I would watch Aaron [Rodgers] play all the time,” Carr said Tuesday. “I’d try to have some of the same mannerisms, getting it out quick, stuff like that.”
Now headed into his fifth season, Carr has established himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, and even though he may not need to watch Rodgers as closely anymore, he can still learn from Rodgers, just in a different way.
“Listening to the mental side of things, how they [Rodgers and Nelson] worked together and him coming up to me and saying, ‘Hey what do you think about this, or this depth,’ learning that stuff has been really cool,” Carr said.
The Raiders offense will have a new look to it in 2018, even though many players on the roster have returned. Nelson is notorious for stretching the field and giving opposing defenses fits, which pairs nicely with Carr’s big arm. It will undoubtedly take some time for these two to get on the same page, but having former Green Bay Packers wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett, now the Raiders wide receivers coach, in the mix should help according to Nelson.
“That’s just one less person I have to learn who their name is and figure out what they’re like,” Nelson said with a chuckle. “No, that’s great. I think that is one of the main factors why I chose to come here. We have great history together.”
This isn’t Green Bay, and Derek Carr isn’t Aaron Rodgers, but the Raiders are embarking on a new era, and the connection between Carr and Nelson will be an exciting development to watch in 2018.