As trying as the first half of Derek Carr's first NFL season has been with no wins, rookie mistakes and the challenge of adjusting to the pro game, he can take some comfort when he looks across the field Sunday.
Because as rough as these first eight games have been for Carr, Peyton Manning had it almost as bad when he made his debut 16 years ago.
Instead of being discouraged by a 3-13 season and 28 interceptions, Manning learned from it and became the Super Bowl-winning and record-setting quarterback that he is today.
“Experience was my best teacher,” Manning said. “There's no question that I learned a lot of things that I would not have learned if I wasn't in there playing. Learn from the good things and of course you've got to learn from the mistakes as well. But, I do think that being in there facing the live action is really the only way to learn how to play quarterback in this league.”
Carr will get another chance at it today when he looks for his first win when the Raiders (0-8) host Manning and the Denver Broncos (6-2).
Carr's first eight games have been slightly better than the start to Manning's career despite the lack of team success. He completed a higher rate of passes (60.7 percent to 55.1), threw the same number of TD passes (11), has less than half of Manning's interceptions (7 vs. 16) and has a superior passer rating (79.8 to 64.5).
The edge for Manning is that he won one of his first eight starts instead of going winless. But Carr feels he has made progress and it's only time until the wins come.
“A lot of people learn in different ways, but for me I need to be out there and I need to see it,” Carr said. “For me, it's been great. I'm looking forward to getting some wins going on, going into the last half of the season.”
Carr, obviously, has a long way to go to reach Manning's level. Manning has won a record five MVP awards, played in three Super Bowls, won one title, and has a record 515 TD passes.
“I'm glad that I don't play defense, because I don't think I'd help us much if I did,” Carr said.