Raiders QB Derek Carr: "I know what I can and can't get away with"

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Q: How great is it to enjoy these times with your friends and family and the people that helped you get here?**

Carr:"We say, 'What a difference a year makes.' It's just a blessing to be able to play a game, play football, have your family around to watch it. We just sit back and just think about it all the time. I said it last time and it still stuck with me, we have people out there fighting for our freedom, and I get to play a football game, so really I am very humbled and it's a blessing that we can hang out and play football. It really is." 

Q: What are the tangible differences between Year 1 and Year 2 for you?

Carr: "The game slows down. When I first got here, I knew that I could do it, but I hadn't done it in a game yet. It's like that jump from high school to college – you haven't done it yet. You have to prove to the seniors that you can play. Last year, to me, it was such a blessing to be able to start from Week 1, play all 16 games and gain that experience because now coming into it, I don't just have a film point of view. I have a 'from where I stood' point of view. I know what works. I know what I can and can't get away with. Just the experience is just a huge factor." 

Q: Was that hard to digest week to week when you're game-planning and all that? Then you get to the offseason and you can take a step back and assess…

Carr: "You're exactly right. You're exactly right. During the season, I don't want to say it's like Groundhog Day, but you're just so caught up in it, you don't really have a chance to digest anything – you're just going. The grind doesn't stop from training camp until the end of the season. Once I finally got to sit back and watch some plays, watch some film of things that I had done during the season, they I could say, 'Oh man, I don't even recognize that guy. I don't even know who that is.' And that's a good thing. You want to be able to say, 'I don't recognize that.' But when the good things happen, you want to be able to say, 'Well, I can go out and do that again.'" 

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Q: Is the language of the new system different? You must have had to throw some stuff out.**

Carr: "I would say once you kind of go through an NFL season, you learn a playbook, especially like [former offensive coordinator Greg Olson] 'Oly's.' 'Oly' puts a lot on the quarterback. Him doing that, I don't know the right words to say it, but him throwing all that at me, him putting all that on me helped me learn so much about the NFL, about the game, that when I had to learn a new system, it wasn't like I am starting from scratch, if that makes sense. I was kind of at a level where I could understand why we were doing certain things. It wasn't like them teaching me why, I knew why when they would tell me. I would say that that's the biggest difference." 

Q: Where are you with this system now? Do you know what kind of team this is going to be or does that develop as time goes on?

Carr: "That definitely develops because we have to play the games. We can do it one way in practice. It can look one way in practice, but we have to see how it's going to look in the game, how is a certain guy going to do this when we get into that situation. And then we kind of fill it out then. Don't get me wrong, you know what you're going to do, you know what you're going to be, and you want to establish that identity through training camp. But it takes doing it in the games to gain that confidence in doing it." 

Q: Along those lines, how do you feel like it's coming along with Amari Cooper?

Carr: "It's going great. There is going to be ups and downs. We had a few missed opportunities today. Everyone will want to talk about the deep one of course because he ran a great route. He saved his landmark, did all those good things. But then we also missed a couple. That takes us taking extra time after practice to get the timing down to make sure the little details are on point. As long as we keep doing that, it's going to be just fine." 

Q: How is the chemistry going with you and Rodney Hudson?

Carr: "Oh man, I love Rodney. Every time I see him, I tell him I just want to hug him. I do. I love that guy. He makes my job a lot easier. Without getting too into why, he just does. He is a great veteran presence. He is the same guy every single day. Me and him, it's kind of nice. We have the same, if this makes sense, football personality. We both like to have fun. We're laid back. But at the same time, we like to try and know it all. That keeps us asking questions, bouncing questions off each other. It keeps us pushing each other in protections and those kind of things. As long as we can work together like that, I hope that we'll be together a long time."

Q: Would you say that it's almost like a perfectionist type of attitude that Hudson has?

Carr:"Oh, absolutely. There are not enough good things, literally, I could say about Rodney. I joked with him about his salary number of course. It's very well deserving."

*Q: Are you all the way caught back up in terms of timing with your receivers from that stretch of time you had to sit out with the injury? *

Carr:"Oh, yeah. Yeah. As soon as I came back, it took me a couple days to feel, 'OK, you know, I'm not just one-hopping throws.' But when you take time off, it's going to be awkward. It took a couple of days for just routes on air to feel right, but it's those live reps that we're getting here in training camp, in pads, when that live rush is coming. That's where it took a couple days for me to get that timing that I want down. But I would say just a few days into training camp, it took – now there are going to be little mistakes still. There are going to be mistakes all year on little things, but the timing feels right."

Q: You had never taken that kind of time off before?

Carr:"Never in my life, and I think it was the best thing for me. The training staff, our strength coaches, our coaches, our doctors, our team doctors, they just said, 'Let's just rest. There's no rush. Just take a rest.'"

Q: Did you think that at the time?

Carr:"Oh, no, no, no. I was like, 'No, I need to play now. I need to throw 1,000 balls a day.' But I just trusted them, because they are professionals at what they do. I trusted them and it turned out to be that they were right and I'm glad that I listened. I wasn't hard-headed. I'm glad that I listened."

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