After just two seasons as an NFL quarterback, Derek Carr has won over his organization, teammates, Raiders fans and analysts with his abilities.
In his sophomore season of 2015, he improved markedly from his rookie year in almost every way and led Oakland to a 7-9 record. Heading into the start of next week's training camp, even bigger things are expected of him.
Oakland's offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, for one, believes Carr is ready to take a big step forward this season because of his familiarity with the system and chemistry with his teammates. Musgrave said he's been a much better Carr through offseason workouts.
"This year he feels llke he has a good grasp of it (the offense) and can put his own signature on the system," Musgrave told USA Today recently.
But in his third year with the Raiders, Carr also will be valuable to his team for another reason: leadership.
With veterans such as Charles Woodson and Justin Tuck now gone, Carr feels like he needs to be a better leader and is ready to accept that responsibility. He says it's in "his nature" to lead.
"That's who I am," he said this week on Jim Rome's nationally syndicated radio show. "I've always been that way, even when I was a rookie and we were 0-10 I'm still leading. I know who I am and I know what it takes to win. I know what it takes to be a championship-level football team and I know what everyone needs to do to see that.
"I know how to speak life into people, I know how to encourage dudes and I know who to get them going."