Derek Carr to join brother David as Fresno State legends with No. 4 retired


Derek Carr to join brother David as Fresno State legends with No. 4 retired

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr isn’t in the Bay Area this weekend. Established players have the weekend off, and many scattered across the country for once last break before the season starts.

Carr went back home for an experience he’ll never forget. Fresno State is retiring his number before Saturday’s game against Incarnate Word University.

No Bulldog will ever wear No. 4 again. It will hang atop the stadium near his brother David Carr’s retired No. 8.

David Carr was a Fresno State legend, and Derek Carr followed in his brother’s footsteps. David was the NFL’s No. 1 overall draft pick in 2002, and Derek was a second-rounder who has become a true franchise quarterback.

Carr is a proud of his Central Valley roots, and still has a strong connection to Fresno State and his native Bakersfield. That’s why this ceremony means so much.

“That’s going to be a special moment,” Carr said this week. “I’ve been thinking about it, too. I was like, ‘Man, I hope I don’t all of a sudden get randomly emotional.’ I literally dreamed of that since I was this tall. Every time I walked in that stadium for my brother’s games, I would tell my dad, ‘Yeah, they’re going to put Dave’s up there, but they’re going to put mine, too.’

"Then when I was there, it said, ‘Carr 8,’ obviously, every day I walked down that ramp. I said, ‘They’re going to put my name right next to that.’ It drove me. It pushed me to want to, again, change a culture of things that were going a certain way. It’s just one of those moments that I’ve dreamed of."

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.