For a change, Derek Carr hasn’t had to change.
The Raiders quarterback is going into just his sixth NFL season at the age of 28, but has had to adjust and learn new schemes almost every season since his rookie year of 2018. The carousel at head coach and offensive coordinator has been nonstop.
But this offseason has been different.
As Carr began organized team activities (OTAs) this week, he has the luxury of working a second consecutive year with head coach Jon Gruden and offensive coordinator Greg Olson.
Now, as he prepares for the 2019 season, Carr knows his offense and his coaches inside and out.
"Now I’m going into this like, yeah, I got this, and to say it the best way, it’s just kind of nice," Carr told reporters this week. "It’s not comforting in any way, but it’s nice to know I’m speaking the same language. I don’t have to learn a whole new set of terminology and, more importantly, I know Coach Gruden, the way he thinks now. I’ve played a season with him, to know what he expects on this down and distance, and when he calls a certain play, I know what he wants me to look for, and if it’s not there, get to this."
Early last season, his first under Gruden, Carr started slowly. He threw too many interceptions and didn’t look at all like the guy who was an MVP candidate in 2016.
But as the season progressed, Carr became more knowledgeable about the offense and how to run it. He said late last season that "Gruden throws a lot at his quarterbacks," and it was a challenge.
Now, with knowledge and better communication with his head coach, Carr is ready to build on his strong second half of 2018.
After watching him last season and now into 2019, Gruden believes in Carr.
"I think he can be one of the best in football," said Gruden. "I’m going to hold him to that standard and I think that’s what he wants."