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NFL offseason 2014: Five expectations for Derek Carr’s rookie year

The Oakland Raiders have  been upfront about the fact that barring a colossal break down in Matt Schaub or a disastrous season, Derek Carr will not play this season.

Carr better not get to comfortable holding a clipboard.

The last time we saw Schaub he was self destructing with the Houston Texans with Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, and DeAndre Thompson as weapons.  The Raiders have tried to upgrade their talent this offseason but James Jones is not on the same level as Johnson.  General manger Reggie McKenzie admitted the team wanted to address the need for receiver in the draft but they didn’t want to reach to get one. 

This is not to say that Schaub couldn’t bounce back, it is just that it is highly unlikely.  Watching Schaub fall apart last season was not like his skills diminished.  It was reminiscent of when Chuck Knoblauch fell apart for the New York Yankees, it was mental.  He wasn’t making errant throws; he was just making horrible decisions consistently. 

The move to basically red-shirt Carr is a move for Schaub’s confidence, but that appears to already have been fractured. 

Here are five things Carr should expect this season:

1) To play a lot

The Raiders open their season at the New York Jets, then return home to the Houston Texans, followed by at the New England Patriots, and they travel to London, England to play the Miami Dolphins.  That means Schaub will see Rex Ryan, Romeo Crennel, and Bill Belichick in successive weeks.  They are some of the best at putting together defensive game plans.  If Schaub is slow out of the gate, the team has a bye week in Week 5.  Carr could get the keys to the team in Week 6. 

2) Don’t expect a great running game

Darren McFadden with the exception of one year has struggled to stay healthy his entire career.  The team signed Maurice Jones-Drew but he has had trouble staying healthy of late as well.  With two injury riddled backs, it is tough to foresee the Raiders consistently having a steady ground game.  Both backs still have talent but if they cannot stay healthy, it won’t matter. 

3) To be compared to his draft class

Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and Philip Rivers are forever linked.  Vince Young and Matt Leinart are connected forever.  Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, and now Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, and Carr are linked.  Their stats will be compared all season long.  It will be Carr’s job to ignore the noise and just go out and try to win football games.

4) To be a big part of the offense

As previously stated, the running game will likely struggle, which means Carr will be asked to make plays.  He may not get the opportunity to be a game manager, he will have to lead the team to wins.  That is a lot to ask a second-round pick but that there is precedent for it.  In his rookie year Andy Dalton led four game winning drives and threw 20 touchdowns to 13 interceptions.  The Raiders will need a similar type performance from Carr. 

5) To do better than his brother

David Carr was sacked a ridiculous 76 times his rookie season.  He only threw nine touchdowns to 15 interceptions. Derek will have more success than that because his team is better and due to his brother’s struggles, he is better prepared.   Derek will struggle as most rookies do, but he will not have the weight of a new franchise on him. 

 Photo Courtesy: AP


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Keenan Actkins

Keenan Actkins is an Arizona resident living in the Phoenix metropolitan area. He brings a wealth of sports knowledge and passion to the team with his unique insight and strong voice and opinion. He also contributes to Yahoo! Voices and has written for


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