There are plenty of places Derek Carr can turn for motivation. It’s pretty obvious he taps into those sources well with the way he works on his craft. A good example is his attendance in the Raiders pre-camp warm-up.
The warm-up is for rookies and select players. For the most part, the ‘select’ players are those who missed time this offseason, or who are on the fringes and are trying to get a leg up any way they can.
Carr is entering his third season. He has been the team’s starting quarterback since day one and is a lock to remain the team’s starting quarterback. He didn’t miss any time this offseason. And he was positing pictures of he and some teammates who got together on their own to work out and stay sharp.
And yet, there he was, at the pre-camp warm-up. And even after that, he still swears he was ‘rusty’ on the first day of camp.
I had to know; why was it so important to be there?
"Get the soreness out of the way," he said without hesitation.
That’s actually very logical. Every year players talk of the first few days of camp being the toughest because their muscles are sore after the 6-week break and the ramped up intensity at camp.
But there’s more to it than that.
"I like to be as ready as I can coming out here so when all the vets get here I’m hitting all my targets right away so they can perform and show what they can do as well," Carr continued. "A lot rides on the quarterback position. You want practice to flow good and all those things, quarterbacks gotta complete balls and do the right things, make the right checks, put us in the right runs, all those types of things."
Again, that makes sense. His teammates depend on him to be at his best so they can be at their best. But we haven’t quite gotten to the heart of what fuels his fire.
"I think in my head, I need to train as if I’m that rookie still competing for that starting job," he added. "Even though they told me ‘Aw, you’ll play down the road’, I still want that same mindset, that chip on my shoulder, that second round thing. That still bugs me. Still those things. It’s not what drives me, it’s not what I play for, but it’s little things that motivate me to want to be better all the time."
There it is. Soreness? Ok. To help his teammates? Alright. To make 31 other teams regret passing him up in the first round? Now we’re talkin’.
I would add the Raiders to that list because they too passed on him in the first round, but he has already said he fully understands why they chose Khalil Mack with their 5th overall pick and is pretty happy they did.
So, if you were wondering if being passed up 35 times in the draft bugs Derek Carr; it does. And if you were wondering if he uses it as motivation; absolutely he does.