Carr healing quick, swears he would've been ready for Super Bowl

Carr healing quick, swears he would've been ready for Super Bowl

ALAMEDA – Quarterback Derek Carr believes that, had the Raiders made the Super Bowl, he would’ve played in that game. He said rehab is going extremely well following last week’s surgery to repair a broken fibula and, despite projections he was done for the postseason, Carr was confident in a quick comeback.

He was pushing for it right up until the Raiders lost Saturday’s playoff game to the Houston Texans.

“Everyone was telling me ‘no chance,’ ‘unlikely,’ ‘not gonna happen,’” Carr said on Sunday afternoon. “That didn’t mean anything to me, and I’d say ‘okay, thanks.’ I’d have been out there.”

Now Carr will take his foot off the gas, and continue getting better at a more reasonable pace.

He wouldn’t give an exact recovery timetable, but said “that it’s going a lot faster than what everyone thought.”

Carr said he would be back for the Raiders offseason program, which cranks up April and May.

“I’ll be ready for offseason,” Carr said on Sunday afternoon. “Now how they’ll want me to do and things like that, I don’t know. Obviously, in the offseason you always take it as slow as possible now that we don’t have a chance of playing. So we’ll take it as slow as possible, but I anticipate being fine.”

Knowledge that all will be well doesn’t make the present any easier to handle. Carr said watching the Raiders struggle from his couch has been difficult. That was certainly the case on Saturday, when the Raiders’ season ended with a 27-14 loss to the Texans in Houston.

“It wasn’t like a helpless feeling,” Carr said. “It was more like sad. I just feel for my brothers. We all put so much work together in an offseason and during the season, you just want to be out there. That’s the hardest part. You don’t get to strap it on, you don’t get to go out there and play the game with them. That is what hurt me the most is that I couldn’t be out there.”

Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave gives Carr a copy of the game plan so he can follow along during a game, which creates some time where he’s yelling at the TV.

Like most Raiders fans, Carr can’t help but play the “what if” game. What if Carr and Pro Bowl left tackle Donald Penn where healthy? Would the Raiders still be playing and fighting for a Super Bowl? Would they have won the division and a first-round bye? Would they have given the Patriots or Chiefs a run for the conference title?

Carr thinks about these things, too.

“Yes, because I’m human,” Carr said. “Yeah, absolutely. I said ‘what if?’ I said, ‘Why?’ a lot, in the last two weeks. But I can promise you, I’ve been the same person. It’s obviously hurt me. Some days, I’ve been rally down and sad, but it doesn’t change who I am. It just hurts, man. It just hurts because I love our team. I love our coaches. I love the fans. I love playing this game.

God blessed me with a right arm, thankfully, because I don’t know what else I’d do, to throw a football. So I love playing this game so I think that’s the part that hurts the most because I just wanted to be out there. But, we’ll be back.”

Raiders retain E.J. Manuel, now have four QBs on the roster


Raiders retain E.J. Manuel, now have four QBs on the roster

The Raiders have a lot of quarterbacks under contract, certainly more than they’ll have come September.

That means the battle to be Derek Carr’s backup should be fierce. EJ Manuel had that title last year, with a shot to retain it after re-signing with the club on Thursday afternoon.

Veteran Josh Johnson signed up Monday, and those two will join third-year man Connor Cook behind Carr on the depth chart.

New head coach Jon Gruden loved Cook coming out of the draft, but the Michigan State alum failed to earn the backup job last season and must make a move up the depth chart to kickstart his career.

Manuel has a strong arm and starting experience, making him a steady and solid backup option. He completed 24-of-43 passes for 265 yards, a touchdown and an interception in two games when Carr was hurt.

Johnson might be a camp arm at this point, though he’ll be given a chance to compete this spring and summer.

Carr has been hurt for at least a small stretch in each of the last two seasons. Having Manuel in that spot might offer stability.

Gruden addressed last year’s backup quarterbacks last month at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Gruden on Manuel: “I think EJ is a young, talented guy,” Gruden said. “He’s been in the facility working out on his own every day. There is a bright upside to him, too, as a young quarterback to keep working with. He’s a free agent, but the Philadelphia Eagles proved that’s a pretty damn important position, isn’t it? Right? So we have to address that and see where we are.”

Gruden on Cook: “I am kind of surprised Connor hasn’t played in two years, other than the playoff game he got in as a rookie. After Derek got hurt last year, they turned the ball to EJ. I don’t know where Connor Cook is. I am frustrated right now that I can’t spend any time with him, but, April 9th (when the Raiders offeseason program starts) will be an exciting day for me and Connor Cook.”

Raiders sign tackle Breno Giacomini


Raiders sign tackle Breno Giacomini

The Raiders need help at right tackle, the lone vacancy along their offensive line. They signed a veteran presence on Thursday afternoon, adding 32-year old Breno Giacomini as the frontrunner to join the starting five.

He has 86 starts in 94 career games, and has been a full-time starter three of the last four years. Giacomini spent 2017 in Houston and the previous three seasons with the New York Jets.

He was a Seattle Seahawk before that, working with Raiders offensive line coach Tom Cable for three of his four years there. Cable gave Giacomini his first chance to start in the second half of 2011, and held the post through 2012.

The bond between the two is clearly strong, considering what Giacomini tweeted shortly after Cable got fired in Seattle.

Coach and player will reunite, hoping to provide steadiness on the right side of the Raiders offensive line.

He’ll compete for a starting spot with Vadal Alexander, second-year pros David Sharpe and Jylan Ware and possibly a drafted player. Giacomini should be considered the favorite unless the Raiders use an early pick on an offensive lineman.

Giacomini has plenty of starts, but his Pro Football Focus numbers aren’t pretty. The analytics says he allowed nine sacks, eight quarterback hits and 64 pressures with Houston last year. He had some decent years under Cable, and a return to that form might push him into the starting lineup for good. Time will tell on that front.