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ALAMEDA – Derek Carr doesn’t get nervous about playing football. Not anymore. He’s thrived in too many big moments to let the environment psyche him out.
But that doesn’t mean he’s calm and collected, especially in his first chance with the first team.
That was evident on his first play from scrimmage Friday against Detroit, when he overshot open tight end Brian Leonhardt on a seam route.
“I missed the first throw, and that really bugged me,” Carr said after Monday’s practice. “I was so juiced, so amped up that I wasn’t trusting my footwork. After that I had to say, ‘Calm down, dude.’ I was too excited. I was able to settle in and play somewhat how I wanted to.”
Carr was effective, though not perfect during his time against the Lions, completing 9-of-16 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown, milking 13 points out of four-plus series.
Carr was concussed for the first time on his fifth drive, but was cleared to practice in time for Monday’s workout. His ribs weren’t broken after he was sacked and smothered by gargantuan defensive end Larry Webster.
“When it first happened, for sure (the ribs bothered me more),” Carr said. “But, as time went on, I realized there was something more going on. Now, my head feels great. We’re taking it slow, which is how I’d want to do it. I obviously have a son I’m trying to hang out with for the rest of my life so we’re being careful.”
He must pass another concussion test before being cleared to play Friday’s exhibition at Green Bay. He’ll enter his next game a bit more confident for last week’s experience.
“I’m starting to get a better feel for things,” Carr said. “It’s only my second game and I have a long ways to go. I felt good seeing the coverage and what the defense was doing. Getting in and out of the huddle was fine, which allowed me to focus on trying to put points on the board.”
Carr was given a series with the first unit, which had a few pointers for their young signal caller. Chief among them: Don’t yell so loud.
“I was screaming out plays, so loud in fact that they told me to calm down a bit,” Carr said. “It was a good experience to get in there with first team. I still have a long way to go, but that was fun.”