The winds of change are gusting through Oakland, and nobody is built for it better than Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. His entire NFL career has been exemplified by change, filled with obstacles that the veteran has proven he can overcome. 2018 is no different, as Carr is finally healthy again, and will be playing under his fourth offensive coordinator in just five seasons. But while head coach Jon Gruden will be the mastermind behind the play-calling, he has given his quarterback the green light to audible on the fly.
“We came in for the pre-camp and Coach Gruden said, ‘If you see something, audible. I don’t care. They have to play. They have to know,’” Carr explained after the first practice of Training Camp wrapped up.
This has to be music to Carr’s ears, as his freedom to change plays at the line was constrained under his previous offensive coordinators. As the younger brother of former first overall pick David Carr, the Raiders quarterback is no stranger to reading defenses at the line, as he’s been doing it since he was 12.
As the younger Carr tells it, “The No. 1 thing I have learned and I know better than everyone else (is) protections, because I have been doing this since I was 12 years old.”
“[David] says, ‘What’s the coverage? How many are coming? Who’s coming,’” Carr explained. “I said, ‘I’m 11 years old, I don’t know. I don’t know who’s coming, who’s rushing.’ He goes, ‘All right, you’re sacked.’ We did this for a half-hour. My brother stops the tape and says you’ve been sacked 25 times, probably fumbled 15 times. You can’t play.”
Allowing Carr to decipher defenses and change plays accordingly at the line of scrimmage should immensely benefit the Raiders offense, but it has also helped to improve their defense as well.
“The players understand we may have to get in and out of calls,” defensive coordinator Paul Guenther told our own Levi Damien after practice on Sunday. “[Carr] is tremendous to go against every day. He’s smart. Every now and again we’ll fool him, but not very often. He’s a good player that way.”
One thing is for certain, this is one change that Carr is welcoming with open arms.