After a Week 4 preseason audition in which he did a fairly decent job of tearing apart the Seattle Seahawks' first- and second-team defenses, Oakland Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr will be named the team's starter for the regular-season opener against the New York Jets. FOX Sports' Jay Glazer was the first to report the news. Carr will be the only quarterback drafted this year to start his first regular-season game. Raiders coach Dennis Allen confirmed the news in a press conference Monday evening.
Taken with the 36th overall pick out of Fresno State, Carr completed 11 of 13 passes for 143 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions against Seattle, and several of those throws came against a Seahawks first-team secondary that is the NFL's best. Carr was decisive in Oakland's 41-31 win -- he hit downfield targets with impressive accuracy and performed well under pressure, though Seattle wasn't scheming at its normal level and left several starters at home. Carr, who led the NCAA in 2013 with 454 completions and 5,083 passing yards, stated his case most eloquently.
"Gosh, he was really good," Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said after the game. "I thought the Raiders played great tonight ... they tore us up in every way."
Carr especially did, hitting receiver Denarius Moore for two touchdowns. The younger brother of former Houston Texans first-overall draft pick David Carr, the Raiders' new starter was competing with veteran Matt Schaub for the spot through the preseason. Schaub was acquired from the Texans for a sixth-round pick in March, signing a two-year, $13.5 million contract with $8 million guaranteed. But as Schaub dealt with an elbow injury and some fairly brutal preseason performances, Carr shone as he needed to, completing 30 of 45 passes for 326 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Schaub also threw a pick in the preseason, but no touchdowns, and he completed just 24 of 47 passes for 218 yards.
Though Raiders head coach Dennis Allen wouldn't tip his hand after the Seahawks win, Carr had made his point.
“Yeah, there’s a lot of things that go into a performance," Allen said Friday. "There’s a lot of things that factor into the decision-making process, but I will say that I was very pleased with what I saw out of Derek Carr last night ... [The Seahawks had] the No. 1 ranked defense in the league last year. It’s a good defensive football team and they had nine of their 11 starters playing, but what I really look at is I look at the offensive unit as a whole. Denarius Moore makes a heck of a reception over there on Richard Sherman. Latavius Murray has a couple of really nice runs in there. We did a pretty good job in protection on that drive, so there was a lot of things with the 10 other guys on the field that, those guys performed well.”
And yet it was pretty clear that it wouldn't have happened that efficiently without Carr, and more than likely never would have happened with Schaub behind center. The Raiders, who go into the season as the league's oldest team on average, have made the right decision based on youth and potential in this case.