Derek Carr talks Khalil Mack, looks ahead to 2018 season

At first, it was 21 spots in the 2014 NFL Draft that separated them – now it's north of 2,100 miles.

For four years, Carr and Mack were two of the pillars of the Oakland Raiders, charged with among other things, changing the team's culture, and re-establishing what it truly meant to play "Raiders football."

Well, while Mack is now a member of the Chicago Bears, and he and Carr are no longer teammates, the Silver and Black's franchise quarterback is happy with what he and Mack accomplished during their time together.

That said, it doesn't make the former Raider's absence any less weird for the time being.

"When we first came in, we planned the next 10 to 15 years of our life, and I think that's the weirdest part, is that it's a little bit of a different chapter now," Carr explained in his first comments since Saturday's trade. "We both have kind of the same goals, I just don't want him to win the Super Bowl, and all those kinds of things, but I felt like when we showed up here, we wanted to change a culture, and show people what it meant to work, and I think we did that. I feel good about that."

During their time together, both players earned Pro Bowl nods, and collectively helped return the Silver and Black to the postseason for the first time since 2002.

While Carr was quick to note that the culture change should not solely be attributed to him and Mack, at the end of the day, the reality is that many aspects of the team's cultural shifts occurred as a direct result of that very pair.

"I feel like we did change the dynamic of how things are done, from the people in the locker room, I believe that 100 percent, we changed that," Carr explained. "It makes it feel a little bit better knowing that we accomplished that together, because that's what we wanted. We wanted to make this a place that free agents wanted to come. I think we did that."

Now though, Mack has a new football home, while Carr remains tasked with getting the Silver and Black ready for their 2018 opener against the Los Angeles Rams.

And before that preparation began in earnest, Carr made sure to speak with his teammates in the aftermath the aftermath trade.

"I've talked to a lot of players immediately after it happened," Carr explained. "I talked to a lot of guys the next day here at the facility and honestly, I don't have any concerns now. Obviously, when it first happened I'm like hold on, I am going to have to talk to some guys and things like that. To be completely honest, I had a lot of guys reach out to me before I even had to reach out to some guys and say, 'we're good man. It's one of those situations, it sucks we lost our friend, we lost our brother but you know we have games to win. We got a job to do.' I think that's the mark of Mr. [Reggie] McKenzie and Coach [Jon] Gruden bringing in the right kind of people. When things like this happen and when decisions are made we have guys in our locker room who know how to handle it like men."

He went on, "We don't have to like or agree with everything. We don't get paid for that. We get paid to come in here, come together as a team, and win together. It's hard because we lost him but I can promise you we are going to be ready to play."

The Raiders will back on the field Wednesday; kickoff against the Rams is scheduled for 7:20 PM.

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