NAPA – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr missed most of the offseason program with a right ring finger ailment. The second-year pro never considered it a big deal, and didn’t approve of doctor’s orders to rest during OTAs.
The down time would certainly set him back, especially with new receivers he hadn’t worked with before. He had rookie Amari Cooper and veteran Michael Crabtree as new guys in camp. Rod Streater missed most of last season. That list will likely be the Raiders’ top 3 receivers, and Carr wanted to ensure he was in sync with all of them.
“I was like, ‘No, I need to play now. I need to throw 1,000 balls a day,’” Carr said after Saturday’s practice. “But I just trusted them, because they are professionals at what they do. I trusted them and it turned out to be that they were right and I’m glad that I listened. I wasn’t hard headed. I’m glad that I listened.”
Carr has caught up quick. He participated in the team’s mandatory minicamp from June 9-11 and held a private minicamp for the passing game in Bakersfield just before training camp. That accelerated the re-acclimation project, and then Carr used these early camp practices to find a solid rhythm.
The finger injury, a nerve issue that is 100-percent healed, has no impact on what he’s doing now. And, after a few camp practices, Carr considers himself back in full working order. That’s been clear through his play, which has been strong heading toward next week’s preseason opener.
“When you take time off, it’s going to be awkward (at first),” Carr said. “It took a couple of days for just routes on air to feel right, but it’s those live reps that we’re getting here in training camp, in pads, when that live rush is coming. That’s where it took a couple days for me to get that timing that I want down. … Now, there are going to be little mistakes still. There are going to be mistakes all year on little things, but the timing feels right.”
Carr hasn’t missed a beat on mental aspects of the game, and his reads are sharp. The Raiders want to see steady development throughout training camp and the regular season, something they are confident will come with reps.
“He just needs to keep improving. I think every year, whether you’re an 18-year guy or a second-year guy, you want to keep getting better in certain facets,” Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said. “Derek, again, is just starting out. He got a taste of it last year, he’s got a good feel for the game.
“The more he can get out there with the current guys, whether it be Amari [Cooper], or Michael Crabtree or Clive Walford, they need to establish a rapport so they can be familiar with one another.”