Derek Carr chose the number 4 because he idolized Brett Favre as a quarterback. And he sees himself as a gunslinger in that same vein. But it’s the man who was able to fill Favre’s shoes in Green Bay and bring the Packers back to NFL supremacy that Carr was compared to today.
Tight end Jared Cook spent last season in Green Bay catching passes from the two-time MVP Rodgers. He wasn’t brought back by the Packers and chose to sign with the Raiders in part to be able to catch passes from Carr.
“It’s awesome, man,” Cook said of playing with Carr. “Great quarterback, great skills, great leader, excited to be in the huddle with him. Very communicative. Tells you exactly how he wants routes, tells you how he wants to run them and talks to you if something goes AWOL a little bit.”
For Cook, it’s an ideal situation, going from Rodgers to the man with whom he “absolutely” sees a lot of similarities.
“Ball placement, able to read coverages on the move, able to read defenders positions on the receiver and able to put the ball where it needs to be for completion ratings and success as an offense,” said Cook of the ways Carr and Rodgers are similar.
Pocket presence is crucial in this league. What’s interesting is for as many similarities as they have in their pocket awareness, Rodgers typically is among the most sacked QB’s in the NFL while Carr is among the least. Some of that is offensive line and some of it is simply Rodgers’ willingness to sit in the pocket and wait to see if something develops and will choose to take the sack rather than try to force a bad throw.
Rodgers puts on a clinic in pocket awareness, moving as little as necessary in order to reset, keeping his eyes downfield at all times. Then again, Rodgers learned under Favre for several years and has been doing it for a lot longer at the NFL level than Carr, who is entering his 4th season in the pros. For their slight differences in style, the results are comparable.
“They know the offense and that’s really important for a quarterback, especially a young quarterback is to know the moving pieces of what’s going on around you,” Cook continued. “Number two would probably be ball placement and the way that the pass comes out is also imperative for your receivers to kind of have that rapport with you and know how you’re going to throw the ball in certain situations away from a defender. And he does a really good job with that, especially being such a young quarterback. I’ve played with older guys and they don’t know how to have that right touch to get the ball to the position where the receiver needs it. D.C. has that down.”
Last season, Carr was right there with Rodgers in the MVP discussion along with Tom Brady and Matt Ryan who took home the honor. And if Carr makes the same jump in year four as he did each of the past two seasons, he and Rodgers may be able to compare trophies as well.
“Numbers and awards can be what it is, but I just want to make sure that every day I’m coming out here and working my tail off so I do get better,” said Carr. “The ultimate goal is winning the Super Bowl. Once we do that, I’m sure I’ll find something I did wrong that season and fix it.”