Carr: “There was no nerves, man. When it comes to football, it’s fun. I’ll tell you what – I was excited to finally to get back and play football instead of getting in your underwear and running a 40. This is a lot more fun, being around the team, met all the veteran guys and they’ve been great. They’ve been very helpful from helping me with the plays, from helping me where to live, they’ve been great. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation. I’m extremely happy where I’m at.”
Q: I heard you on a radio show say that
Carr: “Yeah, he did. He just said he’s here to help me in whatever I needed, basically that was it. He’s here, ask him questions. He said, ‘hey man, I know you’ve got your brother who’s played 13 years, but hey, we’re teammates; I’m here for you every day, whatever you need, I’m here to help you.’ So, that meant a lot.”
Q: Fresno State has had a reputation over the years of playing anybody anywhere anytime. How did your experience there prepare you for life in the pros?
Carr: “Fresno State is an amazing place. We’ve got a couple of [Bull]dogs here with [running backs] Coach [Kelly Skipper] Skip. We have a couple of us. It really does prepare you. Coach [Pat] Hill and Coach [DeRuyter], the systems they run, now, learning this playbook, how they operate meetings-wise, they run it just like the NFL. So Fresno State is a prime place to go. And I’m kind of recruiting for them, but when I got here, it made the transition – not easy, this is not easy – but it made it a lot easier than maybe for someone else. I give all that credit to my coaches for preparing us that way.”
Q: Were you happy with how you threw the ball today?
Carr: “Oh yeah. It felt good man. The main thing right now is they throw a whole new playbook at you. The main thing is throwing it to the right spot. Just throw it to the right spot. There’s so much that goes into one play, more so at this level than in college and high school, I can’t believe it. But it’s been fun to learn. It’s something that I enjoy – you know that. Absolutely, if I threw it to the right spot…Again, I have a lot to work on. I’m learning. This is day one. Hopefully there’s a lot more after this.”
Q: Was it just coincidental that you threw a lot of your passes to tight ends? Would you like to complete some more to the wideouts?
Carr: “It just depends on the play, honestly. If it’s not a short one, then we’re throwing a long one to the tight end. It doesn’t matter who it’s going to. You read the coverage, wherever the coverage on that play tells you to throw it, that’s just where you throw it.”
Carr: “Even if it does that. No doubt. It’s hard throwing to [Noel] Grigsby, but I’m going to have to learn how.”
Q: You were kind of directing traffic and your confidence was coming through. We’ve seen some young quarterbacks come in here a little more quiet. Is that just your natural leadership ability?
Carr: “I’m not trying to be anything I’m not. I’m just trying to encourage guys. One thing I always try to do is encourage people. This is a stressful environment. You’re in the NFL. There’s a lot of guys out here just trying to make the team. All of us, we’re all trying to make the team, trying to prove ourselves and these things, and I’m just here to encourage guys. I’m trying to make it easier on them. Telling them if a guy dropped a ball, ‘hey, great route,’ those types of things. So that’s something I’ve done since I was little and that’s really just how I was brought up. So I just try to really encourage people.”
Q: How much did you work with Coach [Mike] Sullivan this offseason?
Carr: “I worked a lot with Coach Sullivan.”
Q: How has that helped you in the transition?
Carr: “It’s helped so much from watching NFL film to doing the drops that I’m doing here. It’s not all shotgun, it’s under center, play-action and all that kind of stuff. There’s run-game footwork. There’s so much different stuff that goes into it, so working with him has been so helpful and I’m very thankful for him.”
Q: Did that first snap frustrate you a little bit?
Carr: “On the drill? Oh yeah. Any time a play doesn’t work, I’m not happy.”
Q: You mentioned being with Grigsby. What about Southwick? Obviously that was a pretty epic game you guys played in Fresno?
Carr: “No doubt and we finished our meeting late last night so I rode with him and it was weird. I threw my Fresno State bag in there and he kind of looked at me funny, but it’s cool man. Football is just a game. There’s rivalries, all those kind of things, but right now we’re teammates. We’re Raiders. We’re both trying to help each other in whatever way we can just to make each other better, make this team better.”
Q: Was there any moment of pinch yourself or something? You’ve worked to get here your whole life. Today is your first practice. Was there any moment at all of wonderment or ‘I’m here,’ or pinch yourself?
Carr: “The moment for me was when it was finally time to practice and it wasn’t like a pinch yourself, it was kind of like a relief. Finally, we’re just playing football. Obviously it’s going to happen, but hear on TV about my drop or our offense or anything like that. I just want to get away; I just wanted to play football. That’s the only thing…that’s what I love to do. I want to play football, learn from my great coaches, try and help my teammates the most that I can and help the Raiders win games.”
Q: Derek, during this process, what did you hear from so-called analysts that both made you feel good and then others that made you feel like ‘you don’t know me?’
Carr: “To be completely honest, and there’s a lot of people here that know me, none of that stuff affected me either way positive or negative. You’re going to be praised a lot in this business and you’re going to be criticized a lot. Ignore both because neither matter. That’s’ how I look at it. I’m going to come out here and continue to work. I’m going to listen to my coaches – [QB] Coach [John] Flip [DeFilippo], [Head] Coach [Dennis] Allen, [Offensive Coordinator] Coach [Greg] Olson – whatever they tell me to do, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Q: What are your first impressions of Coach Olson’s offense? Do you like how it works?
Carr: “Oh yeah. It’s fun, man. It’s great. I’m not going to get into the details and get cut already. It’s just one of those things you start learning it, you start picking it up and it’s fun, man. I like it. Again, I’ve got a long ways to go. I’ve got a long ways to go so the interviews for me. I haven’t done anything yet. My college career is done; I haven’t done anything yet. Learning the playbook and everything has been fun, but I’ve got a ways to go.”
Q: Of all the places you could have gone, you’ve talked about how this is where you’ve wanted to be and you’ve talked about the reaction of the fans and how could they’ve been to you. Can you talk a little bit about putting on the Silver and Black?
Carr: “Oh my goodness – just wearing the Raiders logo, it means so much to me. I’ve always been a Raiders fan. I’ve always rooted for them, always liked them, always thought their jerseys were the best, all those things as a kid, all those fun things. My uncle played for the Raiders. The fans, I’ve said it before, the Raider Nation is the best in the world in any sport, it doesn’t matter. They’re the best. They’ve reached out in public. They’ve seen me; they’ve said things and we definitely have the best.”
Q: Still wearing No. 4, which obviously Brett Favre is your idol. Now you’re an NFL player yourself, are you going to try to make that your own in this league?
Carr: “No doubt, man. I have to go correct some things I screwed up out here before I can start talking about that, but yeah, definitely happy to still have 4. I’m blessed that they allowed me to wear it. They could have given me something else. I would have rocked that too, but I’m definitely happy to still wear 4.”