ALAMEDA — Derek Carr has been groomed to be a starting quarterback in the NFL ever since he was an 11-year-old breaking down film with big brother David.
It may come as a bit of a surprise that he will reach that goal in the first game of his rookie season.
Carr used an impressive preseason to put himself on the fast track to becoming an NFL starter, beating out Matt Schaub for the Raiders’ No. 1 quarterback role heading into the season opener Sunday against the New York Jets.
But having watched his brother go from No. 1 overall pick and rookie starter to being run out of Houston, Derek Carr knows to heed the advice from offensive coordinator Greg Olson that getting the opening day start is just the beginning.
“As Coach Olie says, ‘Don’t let this moment be your best moment as an NFL moment,’” Carr said. “... We want to make more great moments but it was definitely a great thing. It definitely was.”
Carr joins his older brother, David, as rookies to start in a season opener. According to STATS, they are the only brothers to do that since at least 1950. David won his debut for the expansion Houston Texans against Dallas in 2002 but never developed into the quarterback the Texans were hoping for when they picked him first overall.
Derek Carr, a second-round pick out of Fresno State in May, looks to have more success as he becomes the 18th starting quarterback for the Raiders since the start of the 2003 season.
Carr played well in the preseason, completing 66.7 percent of his passes with four touchdowns, one interception and a 108.2 passer rating. He sealed the starting job when he threw three TD passes in the exhibition finale against Seattle last week.
“I really wasn’t thinking about being the starter, being the backup,” Carr said. “I was really focused on learning the offense the best that I could so that way, when I got out on the field, whenever that time was, I could help this team win. Because that’s all I care about, the Raiders winning.”
In an odd bit of coincidence, it was Schaub who replaced David Carr as starter in Houston in 2007, ending a disappointing tenure with the Texans that began when Carr was picked first overall in 2002 to be the cornerstone of the expansion franchise. David Carr had a rough going in the NFL as he was hampered by an expansion team that struggled to protect him. Carr was sacked 249 times in five seasons, including an NFL-record 76 as a rookie in 2002.
David Carr has been a mentor for his younger brother throughout his career, teaching him how to be an NFL quarterback both on and off the field. David also could give some advice for how to deal with Rex Ryan’s defense, having played against Ryan’s teams several times as a pro.
“He’s got a great blitz package,” Derek Carr said. “He has obviously a lot of different looks that he’ll show. Me being a rookie he’ll probably want to show them all.”
Carr also credits Schaub for helping his development the past few months. He said Schaub congratulated him after hearing the news and has been a helpful sounding board during preparation for the opener. But this wasn’t how Schaub envisioned his career in Oakland starting. He had been immediately anointed the starter after arriving in March and still had that role just a week ago.