Quarterback Derek Carr's second training camp is entirely different than his first.
Entering Training Camp 2014, Carr was a rookie selected in the second round and expected to sit and learn behind veteran quarterback Matt Schaub.
This year, Carr is the unquestioned starter and looking to take the next step and show that he is a franchise quarterback.
Carr addressed the media following the Raiders first practice of training camp and spoke about the difference of entering the season as the starter, as well as the additions of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.
IT'S A NEW BALLGAME
One year ago, Carr entered training camp No. 2 on the depth chart, but after an impressive training camp and preseason he was named the starter Week 1.
He went on to start all 16 games for the Silver and Black and is now the incumbent quarterback in Oakland in 2015.
"It's just a totally different situation. There's no, 'hey, you're the guy of the future.' There's none of that. It's, 'hey, you're the guy now.' It's kind of nice knowing that because now I can be myself. This time around it's just completely different, especially having 16 games under my belt, not including the preseason experience. Just coming in, you just know what to expect. You've done it before. You've seen it and you can hit the ground running a lot faster."
AMARI COOPER AND MICHAEL CRABTREE MAKE A DIFFERENCE
During Carr's rookie campaign, the offense struggled at times to get the ball down the field, so General Manager Reggie McKenzie added a pair of wide receivers for his quarterback during the offseason.
After the first full-squad practice of training camp, Carr talked about the newest additions on the outside for the Raiders.
"This is the ultimate team game. No one person can do it on their own, and the more great players we can have on this team, I'm all for it, and those guys [Cooper and Crabtree] are two great players. I'm excited to work with them. I'm excited to see how much work the guys that were on the team last year have put in."
CRABTREE MAKES IT LOOK EASY
During his career in San Francisco, Crabtree established himself as a top-tier wide receiver, and Friday he showed off some of that talent that earned him two Fred Biletnikoff awards during his time at Texas Tech.
"You always hear about how people finish friendly to the quarterback. He always finishes friendly, for whatever that means. Whatever the route is, for some reason it's just easy to throw to him, and that's a credit to his route-running abilities. That's a credit to the extra work that he puts in in the offseason. That guy works his tail off now. You can tell when he gets out here because he makes it look so easy."
CARR'S HAPPY TO HAVE JOSH HARPER AT CAMP
The Raiders signed wide receiver Josh Harper as an undrafted free agent, and Harper and Carr have some history as the two played together at Fresno State.
Carr spoke about how excited he was to have a fellow Bulldog with him at training camp, especially one he is so familiar with.
"It's so cool to have him [Harper] back. He's doing such a great job for a young guy. Obviously he went undrafted and that shocked all of us. I couldn't believe it, but as soon as that happened, I was like, 'man, we need him here.' It's an easy drive for him and [we have] some familiarity there. It's nice to have him out there. I know what he can do, and so it's just him putting in the work and showing the coaches now."
NO WORRIES ALONG THE OFFENSIVE LINE
The Raiders offensive line only allowed 28 sacks a year ago, and with the addition of center Rodney Hudson, Carr is feeling good about the lineman assigned to keep him upright and get the running game going.
"They're working their tail off. You guys have seen [offensive line] Coach [Mike] Tice working with them. He's going to get after them, and they're going to be ready. You talked about the o line and I was like, 'what?' We don't even worry about them. We know they're going to be ready. We know Coach Tice is going to teach them, and they're going to do it exactly how he wants it, and they're going to do it right."
RECOGNIZING THE UNITED STATES MILITARY
In addition to the Raiders alumni who took in Friday's practice, service members from several branches of the United States military were in attendance as well.
"We were just talking about it; we're sitting here playing a game and they're out risking their lives just so we can be free and do this for a living. If you really sit down and think about it, that stuff blows your mind and you see just how blessed we are. We're just sitting here having a conversation, and you have people out there risking their lives so that we can just be free and do this. It's awesome. I have the utmost respect for them."