Carrie Becoming Key Piece of Raiders' Future

Cornerback and returner is contributing on defense and also making big plays on special teams

With starting cornerback Carlos Rogers injured Sunday, Raiders’ seventh-round draft pick T.J. Carrie got the chance to start against the Seahawks.

Every game, it seems, the former Ohio University standout – and former star at Concord De La Salle High – is contributing something special. He had two tackles from his cornerback spot Sunday and was part of an Oakland defense that was surprisingly effective.

He’s filled in at the nickel/slot coverage spot this season and Sunday was in the starting lineup.

Raiders coaches have said he has a “fearless mentality.”

Just a few weeks ago, Carrie had slot coverage duties against the Chargers’ Keenan Allen and held him to three catches on six targets for 27 yards.

After that game, he told Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle that competing against someone like Allen is exciting, because he likes to “go against the best and see how you measure up.”

But again in the loss to Seattle Sunday, Carrie showed that his biggest impact is as a punt and kick returner. The 6-foot, 206-pounder is fearless and fast with the ball. He had a 42-yard kickoff return and a 27-yard punt return at Seattle in the Raiders’ 30-24 loss.

This season he ranks seventh in the NFL in total punt return yards (155), returning 16 for a 9.7-yard average while calling for just six fair catches.

As a kick returner he’s averaging 26.2 yards on nine returns.

Carrie’s 27-yard punt return late in the game set up a Raiders touchdown drive to keep Oakland alive in its upset bid.

“Special teams is a crucial aspect that we harp on each and every day,” Carrie told Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group. “It can be just as vital as offense or defense, and it can give you a spark and a change of momentum, which it did in the second half.”

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