Rich Gannon knows a thing or two about playing quarterback in the NFL, and for the Oakland Raiders in particular. By the time he was done in Silver and Black, Gannon finished as the team's second-leading passer all-time. He led the Raiders to three straight AFC Western Division title, two AFC Championship game appearances and a berth in Super Bowl XXXVII.
As he gets ready to call this Sunday's game between the Raiders and the New York Jets as a color analyst for CBS, Gannon says he is impressed with Carr's growth and improvement from year one to year two.
"I think you see a big jump, I just think his comfort level with playing the position, I think he's playing fast," Gannon said. "The one think I really notice just watching him this year the ball is coming out of his hand that much quicker. I thought he was a good player last year and he wasn't surrounded by a ton of talent. Now you've got a better offensive line, you've got some real weapons in Crabtree and Cooper. I've really been impressed with what I've seen so far from Derek Carr.
Although he is reluctant to make comparisons to a couple of Hall of Famers he used to play with, Gannon says Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree have given Carr a pair of explosive weapons.
"I think they're different in their own right. I like Crabtree's length, I think he'll go get the football. But I think the guy who's gotten everyone's attention around the National Football League is Amari Cooper. He doesn't seem like he has very many weaknesses and that's unusual for such a yuong player. His explosiveness off the line of scrimmage, his ability to go high point the football, I think he's second in the National Football League right now in yards after the catch. I don't want to get into the comparisons with Tim Brown and Jerry Rice, but he's a guy who could be a cornerstone of this offense for the next decade."
Although reluctant to make that comparison, Gannon said that the quarterback/receiver trust factor is developing.
"I saw a throw last week where [Carr] throws it late down the middle to Amari Cooper and he just goes up and gets it between two defenders," Gannon said. "You don't make that throw unless you really have confidence and trust the receiver is going to do the right thing in that situation. You can see that developing between these two guys. I think Bill Musgrave has done a nice job as well just in terms how he creatively has designed some things to get those guys the ball in space."
You can catch Gannon with Kevin Harlan and Alex Flanagan on the CBS broadcast of this Sunday's game between the Raiders and the Jets at 1:05 p.m.