OAKLAND – The Raiders won the battle for field position on Sunday, and TJ Carrie deserves credit for doing so. The all-purpose return man was productive bringing back punts and kickoffs against the San Diego Chargers, routinely setting the Raiders offense up near midfield.
Carrie averaged 10 yards on three punt returns and 28.3 yards on kickoffs, including a 38-yard scamper in the second half.
Carrie has also taken over as the team’s No. 3 cornerback, giving the Raiders tremendous value for a seventh-round draft pick.
“I felt TJ out there challenging the football on defense and giving us a boost in the special teams game,” Sparano said. “We put him back there for kickoffs, which was something we talked about over the bye, and then punt return in there. He helped us shorten the field a little bit and our offense took advantage in some of those situations, off of those type of deals, which was really good to see, a couple of phases working together. I thought TJ, for a young guy coming into that situation, really did a nice job.”
Carrie is yet another solid contributor from the 2014 draft class that features four other starters.
Carrie’s biggest impact has been made on special teams, something he was expected to do coming in form the University of Ohio.
“You have to have a fearless mentality,” Carrie said. “I’m confident in what I can do back there and how to make plays. We take special teams seriously around here, and I’m happy to be able to contribute in the return game, and I’m happy to be able to get in there on defense too. Anything I can do to help the team win.”