ALAMEDA – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was cleared to participate in this week’s’ mandatory minicamp. The team planned to ease him in to action.
That apparently wasn’t necessary. The second-year pro led the first team offense in all individual and team drills on Tuesday, during the first practice of this three-day session.
That’s a positive sign for the Raiders and Carr, who missed most OTA work with an injury to his throwing arm that resulted in some numbness in his fingers.
He threw without restriction, with plenty of zip on his fastball.
“It was great to see Derek looking like nothing had ever happened,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He stepped in and performed. That was good to see. It was good to have him back in the full rotation of things.”
Carr’s participation level was dissected at every turn during OTAs open to the press, a startling turn for an injury considered so minor since it was first reported May 19. Carr is a starting quarterback, and any time missed is of interest.
Carr has clearly put that period in the past.
“It was so minor but it was blown up so much,” Carr said. “…I just had to go through a bit of rehab and stretching. I felt ready to rock a long time ago, and I felt even better today. We’re not going to get too much into it, but I’m 100 percent. If you could be more than 100, that’s where I’d be. I’m fired up to be working and I’m ready for training camp.”
Carr said he went more than a month without truly throwing – short tosses at an OTA last week were inconsequential – the longest drought of his athletic life.
Carr admitted to being a bit rusty, but he shook that off quickly.
“There was definitely some of that, not necessarily with my eyes and where to throw the football,” Carr said. “There were some minor (accuracy) issues, but that happens when you haven’t thrown a football in 30-40 days now. That’s going to happen. There’s nothing you can do about it, but it felt good to get back in the huddle and be that leader. (The accuracy) came back as practice went on. It will feel more natural as we get more reps, but I felt a little rusty at first.”
Carr’s time off had a minor impact on his practice accuracy, but it won’t hinder his scheme knowledge one bit this fall.
“Derek wants to be in charge,” Del Rio said. “In order to have that responsibility, you have to know what you’re doing at all times and what everybody does around you. He’s done a great job of working at it and trying to process what it’s going to be like in games. That’s important, because, the sooner he gets comfortable, the better it’s going to be for us.”