ALAMEDA -- Jon Gruden loves football. Like, he really loves football, especially the offensive side of the game and the position of quarterback.
Gruden's "Quarterback Camp" became a popular segment on ESPN in the leadup to the NFL draft each year, and his reputation as a QB whisperer was part of the reason he returned to the Raiders to pair up with the Silver and Black's talented franchise signal-caller Derek Carr.
As Carr and Gruden enter Year 2 of their marriage, the Fresno State product has a better grasp of his coach's offensive system and has the playmakers around him to put up numbers that are fitting of his talent.
Despite a rocky first season that included questions about their fit as coach and quarterback, Carr has loved playing for the famed Super Bowl-winning head coach.
"It's really entertaining, to be honest," Carr said when asked what it was like to play for Gruden. "Those of you that know him, he's a ball of energy. It literally has not changed. I've been around a lot of people that have that kind of energy but can only bring it for a couple weeks and then they have a down day. or they bring it for a few months and then they have a down day. Or even a year, they'll bring it for a year but then something goes wrong and they lose it.
"He's literally the same person every single day and you have to respect that about him. And he always has something for each quarterback in the room to work on when we hit the practice field. There's always something. He's like, 'Derek, you got to do this. DeShone, you got to do this. Nate, take care of yourself. Mike, you got to do this today.'
"He always has something and you have to respect him because he outworks everybody," Carr continued. "He's the hardest-working coach I've ever seen in my life. I believe that he's seen every bit of film that has ever been out there. And he'll pull up things to have us learn off of all the time that you're like, 'Why were you watching Central Michigan in 2004?' But he's seen it and he genuinely cares so much about his players. We have so much fun, to be honest with you."
Year 2 of the Gruden-Carr marriage starts Monday when the Raiders open their season by welcoming the Denver Broncos to the Coliseum. In his lone preseason action, Carr diced up the lowly Arizona Cardinals showing how lethal the Raiders' offense can be when operating near full capacity as Antonio Brown did not play in the preseason.
During training camp, Carr's mastery of Gruden's system was on full display as the coach often turned the play-calling over to his quarterback as the two appeared to be in lockstep with one another.
Carr has enjoyed playing for Gruden so far, and it'll be even more fun if the Raiders can exceed the expectations surround their likely final year in Oakland.