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BAGSHOT, England – Derek Carr and Andre Holmes were the final Raiders off the practice field on Wednesday afternoon. Quarterback and receiver were locked in an intense conversation, so focused on its contents that they were oblivious to the media horde hovering a few feet away.
The details won’t be shared here – what’s said at practice stays at practice – but we can say that the pair were getting in sync should a specific situation arise.
Carr was explaining where the ball would be, and Holmes countered with how much time he’d need to make the play.
The pair must stay in strong sync now more than ever. Carr and the Raiders need Holmes to produce. Starter Rod Streater is out an extended period with a fractured foot, and the lanky upstart is expected see his role increase.
“I’m really excited about the prospects of having a bigger role in the offense,” Holmes said. “It’ll obviously be tough without Rod, but we have talent and a good quarterback to work with. I think this passing game will continue to grow and continue to improve. “
Holmes was a receiver on the rise in training camp, and even showed up as a starter on the preseason’s first depth chart. He slipped some with inconsistent play, and found himself stuck on the second team.
He wasn’t lost, just a smidge inconsistent. His size and play making ability made him a valuable asset in 2013, and he can be again if he steps up starting with Sunday’s game against Miami at London’s Wembley Stadium.
“We’ve got confidence that Andre, when we put him in the game, will go out and make some plays for us,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said. “He made a couple plays for us in the game the other day. He drew the pass interference penalty and had a big catch down in the boundary. Those are some of the things that Andre did for us last year and we feel like he can bring some of those things for us this year.”
Holmes had 25 catches for 431 yards and a touchdown last season, his first productive year in the NFL. He hopes to build on that by being a reliable outlet for Carr. He needs to listen to his quarterback in situations like Wednesday, which provide insight into Carr’s way of thinking.
“He’s really good at communicating with all of us,” Holmes said. “This is only our fourth game, so there’s a lot to go over. There are things we need to clean up between quarterback and receiver. The dialogue between the two of us is strong, and our chemistry is developing well.”
Carr has made a point to communicate openly with Holmes, a player who can be useful as a downfield target.
“I love throwing to Andre,” Carr said. "He’s such a big target, I can miss wherever I want and it’ll still look like a good ball and you guys will pat me on the back. He’s just a fun guy to throw to because of how big he is.
"With how big he is, he can get in and out of his breaks like he’s 5-foot-11, which is rare. Usually with taller guys, it’s hard for them to drop their hips and get out of breaks but he does it really well. Just the type of player he is is what makes me excited about him playing.”