Expect Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to take more ownership at the line of scrimmage in 2017.
That’s the message coach Jack Del Rio has for Carr, and the fourth-year quarterback out of Fresno State is relishing the opportunity.
“With [offensive coordinator Todd Downing], he wants me to get us in the right play,” Carr said at the start of Tuesday’s three-day mini-camp. “Every year except my rookie year it wasn’t that way. It was ‘Hey, let’s do it this way and have it a built-in kind of deal and let it roll and let’s play fast kind of thing. This upcoming year, they’re more at the line of scrimmage get us in the good look and get us in the right play and do it fast.”
Last season, Carr guided the Raiders to a 12-4 record and their first playoff berth since 2002 before his season was ended by injury. The Raiders went 3-13 in Carr’s first year and 7-9 in 2015.
Del Rio said Carr “has a real deep understanding what we’re trying to get done.”
“That’s the ideal,” he said. “We want to develop our guys to the fullest and that’s what you push for. Continue to hone your craft and sharpen your skills and build that rapport with your teammates. With him getting on the same page with the receivers, tight ends, running backs and timing of the routes … we’ve talked a lot about Derek taking ownership at the line and direct things. You have to put in the time and really understand the offense inside and out and that’s what Derek brings for us.”
In 2016, Carr completed 357 of 560 passes for 3,937 yards and 28 touchdowns against six interceptions. He tied for third in balloting for NFL MVP and won the Castrol Edge Clutch Performer of the Year honor.
Each year, Carr generally has improved his statistical totals. He’s not too concerned with how he’s done; it’s more about helping his team to AFC West and Super Bowl titles while being unwilling to take a back seat to any other team in the league.
“We always respect our opponents but we fear nobody,” Carr said. “When you watch a team like Golden State play. They obviously respect the team they’re playing like LeBron [James] and Kyrie [Irving]. There’s no doubt in my mind they’re not scared of them and that’s the kind of thing you build.
“It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s something we had to work on and something we had to get out of people’s heads. When we put the work in and step on the field we should expect to dominate; we should expect those things and it’s stuff all Super Bowl teams and all championship teams have, that … quiet confidence about them, and some are less quiet than others.”