Programming note: For all the day’s sports news, tune in to SportsNet Central tonight at 6 p.m., 10:30 and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
ALAMEDA – Derek Carr tries to answer questions honestly, without giving up much. He normally succeeds, but the Raiders rookie was stumped once on Tuesday.
He was asked if there was vindication in being the first member of the 2014 draft class to start an NFL game despite not being a first-round pick.
Carr broke out a smile 10 miles wide and chuckled some to himself, an expression that said more than words could. Heck yes he was proud of that fact, and rightfully so. The answer was a bit more guarded, and spun perfectly.
“I just came in here and I did my best to get on the field,” Carr said. “Obviously as a competitor every college kid wants to go in the first round growing up. Some people didn’t see it that way. I’m glad they didn’t because I ended up in a great spot, the exact spot that I wanted to be. I can’t be upset at it at all.”
[RELATED: Raiders completely committed to Carr]
Carr ended up playing for a team he has been a fan of, one with a tremendous opportunity to start and excel at an early age.
The title bump over veteran Matt Schaub is likely permanent, but it hasn’t gone to his head.
“I’m going to continue to be myself. I’m not going to change,” Carr said. “I’m going to be the same person throughout this whole thing. The responsibilities are important but, the stresses and all those other things that can be part of the experience? Those things don’t matter to me. This isn’t stressful. It’s a game. I’m obviously going to put as much into it as I can from the standpoint of effort. I’m going to exhaust every opportunity that I can. But, will I get stressed out over all those things? That will never happen.”
Carr insists he wasn’t worried about starting right away. He didn’t think of his work in competitive terms. He focused instead on steady improvement, which put him in position to take over at quarterback.
Carr says he has relied heavily on Schaub since turning pro. He’s listened to center Stefen Wisniewski, his roommate in training camp. He has asked for insight from older brother and former NFL quarterback David Carr. He’s taken technical lessons from quarterbacks coach John DiFilippo and commands from head coach Dennis Allen.
[VIDEO: Carr on Schaub: 'He's been great']
There was a piece of advice that stuck out after being named the starter, and it came from offensive coordinator Greg Olson.
“(Coach Olson) said, ‘Don’t let this moment be your best moment as an NFL player,’” Carr said. “Just don’t go from being told you’re the starting quarterback, and then everything else is downhill after that. We want to make more great moments. But (being named the starter) was definitely a great thing. It definitely was.”