Derek Carr looking to make jump in Year 2
By Chase Ruttig
The second year of an NFL player is always a key one in any career. Players looking to make the jump, or simply to avoid the ‘sophomore jinx’ after their rookie seasons as they look to use their experiences as rookies to improve in a league where no job is truly secure and each player has to keep their spot on the roster on the field by performing.
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will be one of those second year players looking to make the leap in the league this season, going from being the first passer in franchise history to start all 16 games as a rookie to now working with a new coaching staff to hopefully improve upon last year’s difficult 3-13 season. Head coach Jack Del Rio and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave sticking with the 2014 second round draft pick as expected to guide the Raiders rebuilding process for another season.
Armed with new weapons in Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper along with the season of experience, Carr is hoping to make the jump this season to becoming a household name at the quarterback position. Using examples in Troy Aikman and Peyton Manning as precedent for being able to take a tough rookie season before turning it into a successful career.
“I always heard guys like Peyton [Manning] and Troy Aikman talk about those first 16 games you start, you just take as much experience as you can,” Carr told the media this week going into Sunday’s season opener against the Bengals. “Obviously, you’re still young entering Year 2. There are still going to be areas where you need to learn and grow, but that jump from Year 1 to Year 2 is huge, and I’ve seen it, man.
“Just the game has slowed down. Little pump fakes, little looking there and doing things, things before the snap that I’ve learned through experience, I think that that’s the biggest jump for me.”
Carr also mentioned that last year he didn’t expect or know that he would be the starter until after the fourth preseason game, mentioning that this offseason he was able to go into the entire process expecting that he would be the leader of the offense under center.
“At this time last year I knew I was the starter for about three days,” Carr said. “This time around, obviously it’s a little different. You have a whole offseason to prepare for the season. You know what to work on. You know what’s going to happen. You’ve already played in the games. You’ve already seen it. So there are a lot of benefits, obviously, that were not here last year that we have this year. I’m definitely excited and just ready to compete.”
Carr flashed promise as a rookie, but that promise was also coupled with 13 losses for the Raiders with plenty of learning moments that didn’t go his way. Now in Year 2 the pressure is on Carr to show progress not only individually, but as a team under a new coaching staff. One of the hardest working young quarterbacks in the league, the odds are that Carr will improve in 2015, but the results on the field will indicate just how far the second year starter can jump after getting a rookie season under his belt.
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