Derek Carr Praised as Special Talent by Jack Del Rio


Oakland Raiders starting quarterback Derek Carr is one of the young cornerstone pieces of the franchise, becoming the first Week One starter in franchise history at the position before finishing his 2014 with three straight home victories over teams who were in the playoff race to end his rookie year with momentum.

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That momentum was not enough to keep interim head coach Tony Sparano in town, but the Raiders upgraded with their head coach hire in January in Jack Del Rio who might have the best quarterback he has coached in Carr in his second run as a HC.

Del Rio worked with Byron Leftwich and David Garrard during his run with the Jacksonville Jaguars during his playoff runs with the team, but finished his stint with Blaine Gabbert as the starter. Gabbert didn’t work out as a first round pick, ultimately leading to Del Rio’s dismissal in Jacksonville before he became a successful defensive coordinator with the Denver Broncos.

While a young quarterback in Gabbert lost Del Rio his last NFL head coaching job, one that he held for nearly a decade with two playoff runs in the tough AFC South at the time, Del Rio feels his newest quarterback is the real deal based on his up close viewings of Carr in the AFC West this past season.

Hopping on The Jim Rome Show, Del Rio told Rome that his second year quarterback in Carr is a player who can develop into a future elite quarterback based on his abilities shown during his rookie season with the Raiders.

“Carr’s a special young talent,” Del Rio said. “He’s got a really quick release, good decision-maker; he’s shown some of that grit we’re looking for, some of that toughness, so he’s a guy that we feel like we have an opportunity to build around.”

Carr has 21 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions in his rookie season where the Raiders were amongst the league leaders in passing attempts, putting plenty on their rookie passer’s plate in an offense where a lot was placed on Carr’s shoulders. While the wins didn’t come until the end of the season, Carr rose to the challenge and developed as a young leader of an NFL offense which has led to high 2015 expectations.

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Those high expectations are also shared by Del Rio, who believes that his new quarterback is the real deal to be a player who he can build around as he plans to guide the Raiders back into the postseason. In a franchise that has had mixed results with their quarterbacks long term there is a sense that Carr will be the answer they have been looking for when it comes to a franchise quarterback who can guide the Raiders for many seasons.

Of course the Raiders have seen quarterbacks have early positivity before things have fallen apart. Jason Campbell, Carson Palmer and even Terrelle Pryor at one point had fans thinking they could be the answer to the long issue at the position. Carr, a young quarterback who was a 50 TD, 5,000 yard passer in his senior season at Fresno State that comes from NFL bloodlines, appears to be different and has a chance to be the best passer for the Raiders since Rich Gannon.

If Carr lives up to those expectations, his new head in Del Rio will see his run in Oakland go a lot easier. Right now Del Rio believes that the second year quarterback will be reliable and develop into the player who can take the Raiders to the promised land, something that will start with the 2015 season as Carr looks to live up to the considerable hype that is building around him.

Next: Derek Carr: JBB Exclusive Interview