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James Jones Talks Derek Carr, Addition Of Edgar Bennett


AP Photo/Ben Margot*

James Jones isn't worried about Derek Carr, and he doesn't want you to be worried either.

Yes, Jones knows that 2017 wasn't Carr's best season, not by a long shot, but even so, the nine-year NFL veteran thinks the Oakland Raiders have something special in No. 4.

"D.C. is special, just flick of the wrist," said Jones. "It's arm strength. It's getting the ball out of his hands fast. He's extremely smart. People underestimate his athletic ability. He can run the ball."

It seems like it was just yesterday that Jones dubbed the then-rookie quarterback "Baby A. Rog," as he was dazzled by Carr's arm strength and precision during his first training camp. Since his rookie season, Carr has been named to the three Pro Bowls, was a viable MVP candidate in 2016, and earned himself a new contract, solidifying his position as the franchise quarterback for the Silver and Black.

There's no doubt that Carr is at a different place in his career than when he and Jones last linked up between the hash marks, but even so, Jones' assessment of the Raiders quarterback is unwavering.

"My comments will never change; D.C. is going to be the MVP of this league one year pretty soon, you can mark my words," said Jones. "He is a special talent. I played with Brett [Favre], I played with Aaron [Rodgers], I played with D.C., I seen it before, and he has it."

Although Carr is entering just his fifth NFL season, Jon Gruden will be his fourth head coach in his relatively short career, and while the former Fresno State Bulldog will again be tasked with learning a new offensive system in 2017, Jones believes that return of Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson will pay huge dividends for Carr and the Raiders offense as a whole.

"I think it's unbelievable," Jones said of Olson's return. "Oly [Olson] really helped him, man… We did not have a lot of playmakers around Derek, and now he has that, with the running game, with the passing game, the tight ends, he has that, and with Oly back there, and him knowing the system Oly wants to run, and already coming into OTAs [Organized Team Activities], and training camp, and all that, knowing the offense, I think that's going to be huge for the Raiders, and I think that's why Jon Gruden brought Oly back."

Olson is not the only coach on Gruden's staff that Jones has a relationship with; Edgar Bennett – who will now coach up the Raiders wide receivers – was Jones' position coach for three seasons in Green Bay, including the best two years of his career.

And according to Jones, the Raiders wide receivers will get the education of a lifetime from Bennett.

"He's going to get the best out of his players, the absolute best," Jones said. "When we first had Edgar Bennett he was coming from the running backs room, and we're like, 'man, we have a running back coaching wide receivers? We need a wide receiver coach coaching wide receivers.' Coach Bennett brought in a total different mindset, I'm talking about guys were playing hungrier, guys were making more plays, blocking better, and the mindset was just different."

He continued, "With Edgar Bennett, you're expected to go out there and make every, single, play, and you knew if you didn't, Edgar was going to come get you out, because he felt like you weren't ready to play."

Since hiring Jon Gruden a month ago, the Silver and Black have understandably been a hot topic of conversation, and while Jones was careful not to anoint the Raiders prematurely, he is excited to see what the team has in store in 2018.

"He's going to be in charge of this team," Jones explained. "It's going to be ran the way he wants it. He's had a lot of characters on his teams too, the Warren Sapp's and all those guys, so he knows how to deal with these guys, and I think Jon Gruden – I'm not going to say they're going to go to the Super Bowl this year, but in the future, I think they'll end up there for sure."

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