Breaking news: Raiders have Big Problem
In his first game since a broken fibula last Dec. 24, Del Rio was as vague with Carr as he was with the media with regard to playing time in the preseason home opener against the Los Angeles Rams.
“Coach, which I loved, would never tell me exactly what I’m going to do,” Carr said late Saturday night after a 24-21 preseason loss. “He just wants me to out and throw and play like I’m playing the whole game.
“He doesn’t want my mind to look up at the clock and counting time like, `Is it time? Dang, I only got 30 seconds left.’ ”
In the end it was 15 snaps, with Carr leading the Raiders to a pair of touchdown passes to Lee Smith and Michael Crabtree wrapped around an interception thrown directly to the Rams’ Trumaine Johnson.
Carr was 7 of 10 for 100 yards. His pass to Smith was threaded through a pair of defenders and the scoring second touchdown was largely the work of Crabtree, who left Troy Hill slipping on the grass to run in for the touchdown.
Given the way Carr has performed through OTAs, mandatory minicamp and training camp, it wasn’t a big surprise. He’s never looked for a moment like a player recovering from injury.
Still, Carr said afterward the game carried with it more feeling than a typical exhibition game, especially when exiting the field after the final gun.
“Oh, my goodness it was so nice to be out there,” Carr said. “What a privilege it is to be able to walk out that ramp. Last time I was here I didn’t get to do that. I’d be lying to you if I said it wasn’t emotional. I was just so thankful. Every single time I’ll never take it for granted again to be able to walk up to that ramp walk over to my wife and my babies . . . now it’s over with and it’s time to play ball.”
— While teammate Marshawn Lynch again sat for the national anthem, Carr chose to put his hand on the shoulder of defensive end Khalil Mack as the song was played.
“We’re not protesting,” Carr said. “We wanted to show the kids that look up to me, look up to him, white kids, black kids, brown kids, blue, green, it doesn’t matter. All be loving to each other. The only reason we did it was to unify the people because obviously you see what’s going on in the world. Obviously everybody pays attention to the national anthem nowadays.
“Any kid, any family, any adult that follows us and looks up to us we knew their eyes would be on us and we wanted to show them a white kid and a black kid that grew up in different neighborhoods can grow up and love each other and be best friends.”
Said Mack: “Different races can get along, you know what I’m saying? White, black, whatever you are. Everyone can get along and be friends and do all those different things. It just shows unity and togetherness.”
Mack said the anthem issue is discussed throughout the league.
“It’s one of the things I feel passionately about but I just don’t like the tension that comes with it,” Mack said. “At the same time, (we’re) just using our platform for positivity is what’s important to me.”
Del Rio has gone on record with his thoughts about Lynch and sitting for the anthem — it’s not what he would prefer but he’ll respect him as a man. Del Rio wasn’t interested in revisiting the issue Saturday night.
Asked if there was any further discussion about it after the game, Del Rio said “No”
And waited for the next question.
— Rams quarterback Jared Goff, the former No. 1 pick out of Cal who strafed the Raiders secondary by going 16 of 20 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown, took a 10-yard sack when Mack beat a double team.
“I really didn’t see him,” Goff said. “He kind of snuck up on me a little bit, but he’s defensive player of the year for a reason. Big dude.”
Goff, who went to Marin Catholic High, enjoyed the Coliseum experience.
“This is my second game here,” Goff said. “I played here in high school, so I’m somewhat familiar with it. I had some friends and family here. It was fun.”
— Linebacker Nicholas Morrow, a third-round pick out of Division III Greenville, nearly had a game-clinching interception with a break on the ball, had a tackle for loss and also a special teams tackle.
After the pass breakup, the Rams went in to score the game winning touchdown on a 20-yard pass from Sean Mannion to Josh Reynolds.
Morrow, a defensive back in college, started the game with the first team nickel defense.
“He finds the ball a little bit,” Del Rio said. “I think Jelani Jenkins went in there and played pretty well in the second or third series and played the rest of the half. I thought he was pretty solid too. Those two guys flashed. Nick at the end of the game had a nice breakup. Almost a pick. Would have ended it. Would’ve been nice.”