Derek Carr was first called “Baby A-Rod” years ago. Former Raiders receiver James Jones created the nickname. It hasn’t stuck, but comparing Derek Carr to future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers is still a thing.
Jones should know. He played eight seasons with Rodgers in Green Bay. He spent Carr’s rookie season in Oakland, and practiced with him as a collegian.
There are similarities. Accuracy, arm strength, mobility and smarts are all shared traits. Cool under pressure and unwavering confidence, too.
Jones isn’t the only one who sees it. Jared Cook seconded that motion.
The new Raiders tight end spent last season in Green Bay, and was one of Rodgers’ favorite targets. Carr stole him away with a solid recruiting effort backed by a solid two-year contract offer.
Cook knew he could work with his second straight top quarterback even before signing up in Oakland. He and Carr had a private film study session during Cook’s free-agent visit, and it became clear that Carr and Rodgers saw the game in a similar way.
“They know the offense and that’s really important for a quarterback, especially a young quarterback is to know the moving pieces of what’s going on around you,” Cook said after Tuesday’s OTA session. “Number two would probably be ball placement and the way that the pass comes out is also imperative for your receivers to kind of have that rapport with you and know how you’re going to throw the ball in certain situations away from a defender. And he does a really good job with that, especially being such a young quarterback. I’ve played with older guys and they don’t know how to have that right touch to get the ball to the position where the receiver needs it. D.C. has that down.”
Cook also said Carr and Rodgers share an ability to read coverages on the move and throw a pass where only the receiver can catch it.
The veteran tight end has spent this offseason being friendly to his new quarterback in the pattern, trying to grasp exactly how Carr wants routes run.
“That makes my job easy, especially because he’s really fast so I can miss a little bit and he can make it look right,” Carr said. “When we sat there and watched film and I talked to him about the different things that he can do for us and help us, it didn’t feel like it was a recruiting thing, it felt more like we’re just getting ready for the season, if that puts it into perspective.”
Cook has fit right in since joining the Raiders, trying to assimilate into a new locker room culture and an offense in need of receiving weapons at tight end.
“He’s such a pro and a guy that wants to do things right that the more he’s around meetings, out at practice and understands what we’re looking for in the system, he’ll just continue to grow and grow,” Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing said. “He’s one of those guys that he wants you to paint a picture for him of how you want it done and then he’s going to do his best to replicate that picture. We’re excited about where he’s at this offseason and expect a lot of fun things in the future.”