Derek Carr: 1 on 1 With Just Blog Baby


On Tuesday, January 27th I enjoyed a very candid conversation with Oakland Raiders Quarterback, Derek Carr. Below is a transcription of our 20 minute chat. I’d like to note, speaking with Derek, it was very obvious that this young man is the same guy talking to the national media after an NFL game, his local media after a Raider practice, or a guy on the phone in Seattle who writes for a blog about the Raiders.

Following is my interview with Carr about his rookie season, his offseason so far, and the future of the Raiders going forward.

Patrick: How has your offseason been going? What has been your focus?

Derek: Right now, its just letting my shoulder rest. I haven’t thrown a ball since the season, I’m trying to let that rest as much as possible. Coming off of my senior year of college, I had no rest. I went straight to training for the Senior Bowl, straight into the combine, straight into the workout, training camp and then the season.

I haven’t stopped throwing for way over a year now. I thought it was real important to rest that. I’ve been working out real hard, trying to get stronger right now. Working to maintain the conditioning level.

Patrick: Last season there were a couple close calls with some leg injuries, you were able to play through. Has your training been focused on preventative measures for that?

Derek: Oh yeah, a lot of rehab type stuff. Like you said, preventative. I just praise God that it wasn’t worse. It could have easily torn, or broke a bone you know. I just praise God that I wasn’t hurt that bad. I was banged up, but at least I could fight through it a little bit and keep playing. All except the London game.

Doing those kind of things in the offseason are important though, you want to make sure that your ligaments are strong, and all the parts of your body recover. Offseason is really important, especially when you have to go through a long season in the NFL.

PF: When you fight through an injury like that, many people believe that earns you the respect from the older players in the locker room. Did you notice anything to that effect?

DC: You know, I did. They all know you, but they don’t KNOW you yet. They don’t know what you really have deep down inside. When something goes wrong, or if you get banged up, how is he going to respond? All those things. You do your best to fight through those things. Sometimes there are things you can’t fight through. Like when I got my concussion against Detroit in the preseason. That’s something I couldn’t help. I tried to fight through it, but I couldn’t walk right. So I knew I was done for that game. (chuckles)

PF: That’ll close it down quickly.

DC: Ha. Oh, real quick. Especially when your left side isn’t working. But when its an ankle or a knee, if I think that I can play the next play, I’m going to do my best to play the next play. At times, it may have hurt us on 3rd downs, but I’m showing my teammates that I’m their guy and no matter what I’m going to be out there.

PF: From watching your post game interviews, and mid-week interviews last season. Seeing how you grew from week to week and learning from every experience you had. Did you catch the NFC Championship Game, and what were you able to learn by watching that come back performance?

DC: Oh absolutely! Not only do I play the game, but I’m the biggest football fan around. I love football, I love watching it, I love learning from it. I absolutely watched that game. Especially, I was watching my buddy, Davante Adams, who was playing in it, so I wanted to watch him, root for him.

Watching the game, you watch Russell play, and he does a lot of things in his life that I respect and that I like, and his kind of character, the way he handles thing; so I love rooting for him as well. You watch him, he goes off and throws 4 picks, the NFC Championship, it is in your home stadium, you feel like you are letting your everybody down, but he kept his head down, kept the faith and kept fighting, kept believing, kept leading his teammates.

Because games in the NFL are never over. That’s one thing that I learned, that game is never over. You keep playing. As I watch, you don’t have to do anything heroic you just have to do what you are taught. That’s exactly what he did on both of those touchdowns. He did what the coaches taught him. He checked the one pass play for the TD in overtime, he’s just doing what he was taught he wasn’t trying to do too much, and that’s something that I learned from it.

PF: Speaking of the “not over till it’s over” I was at the game you played in Seattle. Toward the end of that game, I was thinking the exact same thing.

DC:  That’s another example. Seattle got that onside kick against Green Bay, if we get our on side kick, we get the ball and we are trying to drive to win it. That’s how close these games are.

“I hope I play here for the rest of my career.” – Derek Carr

PF: The wins everyone was hoping for last season, didn’t come along. But the young players on the team did great, obviously Khalil is up for Defensive Rookie of the Year. You had one of the most productive rookie seasons from a QB in the history of the NFL; With all that, what do you think you need to do, and the team needs to do to improve?

DC: For me, I want to go out and be more efficient. This past year I said I’m going to go out and play as hard as I can, just do everything I possibly can to win a football game, throw it wherever I need to, try to fit it into windows to help us win. Record wise we weren’t doing very well, so I tried putting it all on my shoulders. There as a spurt in the middle of the season where I was turning the ball over, and that was related to me trying to do too much. So, I said, “ya know what, I’m going to finish the season off thinking about my team, and thinking about not turning the ball over.”

That’s how I’ve played my whole life, but I was trying to prove something to people, and that’s not who I am. When I had that mindset, the team mindset, we went out and we won our last three games at home, against some really good football teams. That’s something I learned. No matter who you are in this league, you can’t do it on your own. There’s no doubt about it, I don’t care who it is, you cannot win a game on your own. When you try to, you’re going to screw it up for everyone else.

Also I learned, we’re actually starting something really good here. The record might not show it, but people who pay attention to us and who know the Raiders, like yourself, you understand what we’re doing and what we’re building. Its going to take time, but our mindset is, we are trying to be playing at this time next year. We think that we can do that, obviously we have to add some pieces and keep working, and hopefully we are going to get there.

PF: I remember at the beginning of the season, when they posted the schedule, a part of my heart sank, because I thought this was the hardest NFL schedule I’d ever seen. How do you think that schedule helped your development?

DC: You’re exactly right, we played 8 of the top 10 defenses this year. The others we played were right up there anyway, there just wasn’t room for them in the top 10.  (chuckles) It was good. Coach Olson said, “you will probably never play a schedule like this again, and this could be the best experience you could ever have.” He’d never seen a schedule like this. Going through it as a rookie QB with a brand new team we are trying to build, I think those are things people over look with this team.

People don’t really necessarily pay attention to those things, and its sad. I know this league, and the only thing that matters is wins, so the fact that we can look back on it and say “hey, we did some pretty good things against some great defenses” that’s all good and well, but we know that all that matters is the wins. So we got to watch that film and try to push ourselves to be better next year knowing that in all honesty we played one of the best schedules you could ever play. We have a lot of confidence going forward, but that schedule was really good for us.

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  • PF: Have you had a chance to meet any of the new staff yet?

    DC: I did, I met them all. They are great. I think the Raider Nation is going to love them, honestly. I sat down, talked with them, I’m going to continue to meet with them. Its been great so far, they’ve been awesome.

    PF: The offseason is full of rumors, one has been (offensive coordinator) Musgrave wanting to install a no huddle offense. What would you think about running a no huddle offense?

    DC: I think it’d be awesome. It’s what I did in college. Getting up to the line of scrimmage, getting us in the right play, that’s what I’m used to. I have no problem doing that. It’s what the best players in the league do at the QB position, that’s what I want to do. The teams that are winning Super Bowls, those are the things those teams are doing. Getting to the line of scrimmage and putting it on the QB.

    PF: Woodson is back! How great is that, and how much inspiration did he have on the locker room last year.

    DC: He’s awesome. Just to watch a guy at his age run around playing like he’s 24 years old. No one questions him losing a step, no one questioned his ability to practice every day. The guy practiced every day. Played hard every single day, worked out every time. Never missed a meeting, never missed anything. He doesn’t know everything, but its pretty darn close. He knows a lot about this game, and watching him wanting to learn and get better, its an inspiration for us young guys. Its something we need, and we need to see.

    Him (Woodson) coming back shows his confidence in this team, the guy doesn’t have to play football. He has no financial problems. He doesn’t need to win a SB, he has one. He has every reason to go home and enjoy his family, but the guy wants to play again and that says a lot about his confidence in this football team.

    PF: Did you watch Marcel in the Pro Bowl?

    DC: I caught some of it on TV. I heard he had a few good plays, I was actually taking care of my son. (chuckles) My wife was cooking dinner. I couldn’t be more happy for him, he’s the best fullback in the league.

    PF: Marcel said before he left for the Pro Bowl that he was going to do a little recruiting for Free Agency while he was there. Have you done any of that?  Reaching out to players, or putting a name in Reggie’s ear?

    DC: Absolutely. I already started talking to some guys, recruiting some guys. Obviously I can’t say any names, but I have started. I’m doing my best to help this team win, if I can help I’m going to.

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    DC: Having him would be amazing. Obviously, I’d love to play with him. I’d love to throw him the ball. His family are big time Raider fans. I know a lot about him, I think he’s a heck of a player and I think he would fit in with the group we already have. If we could add him, it would be great. We’ll see what happens, see what the front office wants to do. He’d be a great addition for our team.

    PF: Julius said he’s a Raider fan, I’m starting to hear that more and more. Leonard Williams from USC is a Raider fan, Coach Del Rio grew up a Raider fan, even you grew up a Raider fan. Now that you’ve been in the organization for a full season, what do you think it is that draws players and coaches to the Raiders?

    DC: I think it’s that Silver and Black honestly. It’s the emblem. The mystique of the Raiders. The fear people used to have when they’d play us, and the fear we started creating again. Especially on the defensive side of the football in that last stretch in December.

    Once you get to know these fans, once you get around them, I can tell you I never want to play anywhere else. I hope I play here for the rest of my career. I love these fans, I love playing for Mr. Davis. God has been good to me, to allow me to play here, so I’m very thankful to be here. I think the fans are really what make it, the passion they have. No matter what we are doing, no matter how many wins or losses, to come running back on the field and hear the fans cheering for me. To come running out of tunnel and hear them go crazy even though we only have two (eventually three after the home finale) wins on the season. It’s really amazing, and I love them to death.