CB TJ Carrie spoke with the media following the first practice of the second week of Organized Team Activities (OTAs). The second-year cornerback played a significant role as a rookie, both on defense and special teams. Heading into this season, Carrie joins a young defensive backs room full of potential.
RULES OF BEING A ROOKIE
To most of us, a player's rookie season ends when the first year is over. Not so, according to veterans Justin Tuck and Charles Woodson.
"Technically I'm still considered a rookie, according to [Justin] Tuck and [Charles Woodson] C-Wood. You have to play four games into your second season to get out of that rookie realm, according to them. I'm still a rookie in a sense, but it's definitely good to have the veteran guys back in, giving us guidance as far as our young secondary crew."
COMPETITION IN THE RETURN GAME
Before sustaining an injury in 2014, Carrie was one of the Raiders primary returners. While that's still potentially a role for the young corner, Carrie anticipates significant competition for punt and kickoff return with some of the new editions.
"I think competition is good. I feel that we have brought in some guys that definitely compete for that return spot, both kickoff return and punt return, which is good. Iron sharpening iron. Day in and day out, it's a good competition battle."
CARRIE VS. COOPER
When the Raiders drafted WR Amari Cooper in the 1st round, no one on the Silver and Black was happier than QB Derek Carr. But, the defensive backs were excited as well because being challenged every day in practice is the best way to prepare for game day.
"On the defensive side, it's definitely great to go against competition day in and day out. That's the best part of competing, always wanting to go against the best. Amari brings a lot of skill to the game."
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR KEN NORTON, JR. IS CHANGING THE WAY THE DEFENSE THINKS
Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. is making a huge difference on defense. He's changing the way the defense thinks in every aspect of their lives and Carrie can feel the impact.
"The mental focus that he has in changing our mentality as far as the mind and making us believe, within everything that we do, from waking up in the morning, driving here to work, lacing up your cleats, everything. Everything that he is installing from presentations that he's been giving us has been a real mental focus. I think coming in to meeting rooms, you're excited because you don't know what he's going to say or what he's going to do. He definitely brings that excitement and that mental capacity that we need to gain and grasp as a sponge."
ALL ABOUT THE WOODSONS
Carrie and the rest of the defensive backs have a significant advantage over…well, pretty much everyone. Not only is Charles Woodson still roaming the secondary, but Hall of Famer Rod Woodson is one of their coaches. Carrie is taking full advantage of the situation.
"You have a sense that every question you could imagine asking, they have the answer to it. It's really up to you as a person, as an athlete to say that I'm going utilize them as much as possible as a backbone to certain situations, how I should play and my technique and how they view things within their careers. That's a huge factor."