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ALAMEDA – Raiders head coach Dennis Allen didn’t have to be asked who will start at quarterback. He just came out and said it.
Derek Carr’s the guy.
He didn’t hide behind Matt Schaub’s sore elbow. He didn’t hedge bets by saying Derek Carr is the starter for one week. Fitting with the team’s poker-themed slogan of the season, he moved his chips to the middle of the table. Carr's the starting quarterback of the present and future.
When it comes to Derek Carr, the Raiders are all in.
“Derek [Carr] is the starting quarterback,” Allen said after Monday’s practice. “We feel very good and very confident about where he’s at and his ability to go out and lead us to victory.”
The Raiders did not make Carr and Schaub available for comment.
Allen didn’t reach this decision on Thursday night. While Carr was electric against the Seattle Seahawks – he was 11-of-13 passing for 143 yards and three touchdowns – it was his entire body of work that sold the Raiders on his readiness.
“Well, (Thursday’s game) was a factor in it, it certainly was, but we’ve seen signs of Derek Carr’s development from the day he stepped on the campus here until where he’s at right now,” Allen said. “We’ve seen him grow by leaps and bounds, and I think he’s ready to accept the challenge.”
Carr has developed far faster than the Raiders expected. They accelerated his progress during the offseason because he was able to absorb and apply what was taught. The Raiders tinkered with his footwork, which has helped him become more of a stable pocket presence.
“After watching him all throughout training camp and in the preseason, you just see a guy that continues to develop and continues to be mature beyond his years as a quarterback and a guy that we feel very comfortable putting him out there and helping us win football games,” Allen said. “So, we made that decision and we’ll move forward with that.”
It’s a decision that received support from the locker room, including veteran teammates looking to win right now. Rookie quarterbacks typically take their lumps and can make for tough times ahead, but the Raiders see something special in a kid who doesn’t play or act like a rookie. Part of that comes from Carr’s brother David, an NFL quarterback drafted No. 1 overall by the Houston Texans. David had Derek watching NFL game film
“He looks more and more comfortable each time out,” center Stefen Wisniewski “He’s not your typical rookie. He understands defenses at an advanced level. He understands what it takes to excel at this level. He just gets it. We’re extremely confident that he can get the job done.”
While Schaub had struggled in the preseason and showed a real lack of arm strength that the Raiders, Carr earned the right to start on his own merit. He is not the lesser of two evils. The Raiders believe he gives them the best chance to win right away.
“It’s not an indictment on Matt Schaub at all,” Allen said. “I still feel very confident in Matt Schaub. I think it says more about where we feel Derek Carr is and his progression.”