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Jon Gruden gets ‘creative’ on day one of Raiders veteran minicamp, throws more at Derek Carr than he’s used to ‘he didn’t blink’

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Raiders first veteran minicamp had Gruden throwing more at Derek Carr than the young QB has seen before.

Oakland Raiders

The day finally arrived today. And Gruden was ready for it. Whether his players were ready is another story. Not because they were slacking, but because we knew Gruden was going to cram a lot into the first day of Veteran minicamp.

The bulk of the load lands on his starting quarterback, Derek Carr. One of his former quarterbacks, Chris Simms, can attest to that. He said last month that Gruden’s goal was to run 85 plays in the first walk-thru session. Carr knew he was in for it, but all he could do was brace himself. He said he was challenged like never before.

“Yes, especially for Day 1,” Carr said of Gruden’s workload. “He threw everything at me. He tried to get me, see if I was listening to him in the meetings and those things. We had a lot of fun doing that. It’s always fun to accept his challenge and hopefully do good at it and look at him and wink at him. We have fun together because we know we both have the same goal in mind and that’s putting the ship in the water and hitting this thing running. We’re trying to do that right now. Obviously, we’re getting after it and trying to work really hard with each other. It’s been a lot of fun.”

It’s definitely the honeymoon period of this relationship. Gruden is taking the practice field in charge of a team for the first time in nine years. And he has always said part of his inspiration for returning to coach the Raiders was knowing he already had a talented young quarterback in place.

“Well I got really excited out there today,” said Gruden. “You can have a real creative imagination with that guy at your quarterback position. He can make every throw. It comes out of his hand fast and accurate. He’s mobile. He’s sharp. He’s a great leader. He choked this situation today, he was all over it. We tried to give him some audibles, different situations on the very first day, he didn’t blink. He’s a real, real good player. We just have to do our part as coaches, and we have to improve the positions around him.”

For Carr, it’s his fourth new coaching staff in five years. Going from college to Dennis Allen to Tony Sparano, to Jack Del Rio, to Jon Gruden. Only once has he had the same offensive coordinator for two consecutive seasons — Bill Musgrave from 2015-16.

The result of that continuity was Carr having his best season, leading the Raiders on several come-from-behind wins to reach 12-3 and a playoff berth.

While the Raiders have an entirely new coaching staff, among them is Greg Olson who was Carr’s OC in his rookie season in 2014. It may not be continuity, but it’s familiarity which thus far is making the transition a bit easier for Carr; helping to bridge the terminology gap between he and Gruden.

“Yes, that’s what has made it easier for me,” Carr said of Olson back as OC. “I don’t know about the guys that weren’t here with Oly, how easy it is but for me that’s made it easy. The terminology, the way they call certain things, that has been kind of similar. Obviously, Coach Gruden brings on his own stuff doing it that way, but Oly naming things… Let me say it this way, it’s pretty much the same mindset but just different things here and there. But, yes, there are similarities.”

We knew Gruden wasn’t going to ease into this thing. He’s got 9 years of ideas and schemes burning a hole in his playbook. If things didn’t go off without a hitch, he and Carr aren’t letting on.

It’s just the beginning and I get the feeling no matter what Gruden piled on Carr’s plate today, he has hundred times more in store. But he knows that.