Breaking news:Meaningless exhibition? Try telling that to Raiders’
Derek Carr has a message for anyone who considers the fourth exhibition game to be meaningless.
“It was fun when I got to play in my rookie year,” Carr said Tuesday. “That’s an opportunity for a lot of guys to make the team, make a name for themselves. Obviously it was really important for my career.”
There isn’t likely to be high drama to match it Thursday night when the Raiders host the Seattle Seahawks at the Coliseum, given that Carr’s performance on Aug. 28, 2014 was one of the seminal moments in the resurrection of the franchise.
The Raiders, who beat the Seahawks 41-31 to conclude a 2-2 exhibition season, started Carr because presumptive starter Matt Schaub, acquired by trade from Houston, had a sore elbow.
When they both played in a controlled scrimmage against the Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard, neither stood out, although offensive Greg Olson at one point early on said, “Carr is very intelligent, there he may not need to redshirt. We like his comfort level, Right away, we can see this is not to big for him.”
But going from starting at some point to starting right away would take something spectacular, and that’s exactly what Carr gave the Raiders against the Seahawks.
In four possessions, Carr produced four touchdowns and a 28-7 lead. He was 11 of 13 for 143 yards and two scores.
After Carr directed a 12-play, 68-yard drive that ended in a 5-yard run by Latavius Murray, the Seahawks fumbled the ball away on the 36-yard line, Carr instantly hit Denarius Moore for a 36-yard touchdown.
The Seahawks punted on their next possession, TJ Carrie returned it to the 20, and Carr hit Mychal Rivera for a 20-yard pass on the first play. Two plays, touchdowns.
Next, Carr drive the Raiders 61 yards in eight plays, ending in an 11-yard strike to Moore. He was done for the night.
“I don’t remember specifics,” Carr said. “I just remember the feeling. I can remember bits and pieces. This was like really me and Latavius’ first chance to go out there and play against the No. 1 defense. Some of the things you don’t forget, but details, I guess I’ve been playing too much now.”
What Carr will never forget is that two days later, on Sunday, he got home from church and had a text from Olson to meet with coach Dennis Allen.
“Some quarterbacks had gotten hurt in the preseason so I thought, `Oh man, they traded me,’ ” Carr said. “I promise you when I drove here I thought I was traded. I really thought that. I thought, `I played well, somebody wanted me.’ ”
Turns out that someone was the Raiders, who informed Carr he would be the starter Week 1 and to never look back.
Carr and his family are forever grateful to Schaub for how he handled the news. When Carr came in to watch film Monday, Schaub extended his hand and admitted his disappointment.
“He said, `Whatever you need, I got your back,’ ” Carr said. “From that point forward, he proved it every single day. He was never rooting against me. He never wished ill-will. All he did was help me and teach me how to play quarterback as a professional.”
As the Raiders prepare to play Seattle — Carr will play little if at all — he had a message for his younger teammates.
“I try and encourage them, try to give them some peace,” Carr said. “A lot of them are stressing out right now just trying to make the team. I know the feeling because they gave me a chance to start the last game my rookie year and there was going to be a lot told based on how I played.”
— Carr was predictably only to happy to surrender the title of NFL’s highest paid player to Detroit quarterback Matt Stafford. Stafford’s five-year, $135 million deal eclipsed the five-year $125 million deal Carr signed on June 22.
“My reaction to it is, `Congratulations,’ ” Carr said. “I hope every quarterback beats me. I hope they all continue to do that because I know Matthew and I know he’s a great guy. I know that he helps a lot of people. It’s not about certain things for us. It’s about getting money in the right people’s hands because we know the impact on lives around the world.”