Jon Gruden is known for his work ethic and his passion for the game of football. It’s kind of his thing. He gets up really early to get to the office and leaves late. Even during the nine years he was out of coaching, he was said to maintain his preparation schedule, only it was usually for his gig as an NFL analyst for ESPN.
He’s also known for being hard on his players, most notably the quarterback. This inevitably leads to the question of how Derek Carr will be able to handle him. Whether there will be an information overload or whether Carr would have to step up his preparation schedule.
Derek said a few weeks ago that he and Gruden will “push each other” and that he thrives when coaches are hard on him.
Gruden likes Carr. That much is known. He gushes about him as a major factor in why Gruden says decided now was the right time to return to the Raiders as head coach.
Few can match Gruden’s knowledge of the game from an offensive standpoint. Derek certainly can’t, but where he can hold his own is having been groomed to be an NFL quarterback from a very young age by his brother David, who was the number one overall pick by the Houston Texans in 2002. Derek Carr had just turned 11 years old at the time.
“I’d bring him into the quarterback room when I was in Houston,” David Carr said in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated.
“He was a ten-year NFL vet before he even took a snap,” he added.
“I was able to tell him how to prepare for a game when he was in high school. We would break film down for a high school game like you should in college, like you should in the NFL. So, he was already there, mentally. So, when he got to the NFL, preparing for a game, going through the course of a week and how to break it down, he was fine.”
For older brother, his NFL career was as rough as it comes. He spent five years as the every day starting QB in Houston, getting pummeled every season to record numbers of sacks. His little brother Derek watched it all in horror.
“You talk about experience,” David continued. “He lived every one of those losses and sacks with me. To see him now… he wakes up… He’ll beat Jon Gruden there to the office, I guarantee it. That guy works so hard because he does not want that to happen to him, so he’s gonna do everything he can.”
David went on to tell a story about how while Derek was preparing for the draft, he stayed with him and would get up at 4:30am and be out the door by 5am. That’s pretty early, but it’s not Jon Gruden early. Gruden is well known for starting his day at 3am. It was what Mark Davis witnessed when he visited him over the years while trying to court the old ball coach to return to the sideline.
It might be a tall order for Carr to beat his coach to the office. I don’t think anyone would fault him for drastically change up his schedule in order to attempt it. Prime time games might get a little tough if he’s playing them past his bedtime. Anything before 6am seems like it would suffice.
Likewise I don’t think anyone expects him to be able to match Gruden’s passion and knowledge of the game. Though there are few NFL quarterbacks, especially in their mid 20s, are better equipped to translate it to the football field.