Raiders QB Derek Carr feels ready to go despite minimal preseason work


Raiders QB Derek Carr feels ready to go despite minimal preseason work

OAKLAND – Derek Carr planned to play into the second quarter on Friday night. That’s what the Raiders quarterback had heard, and that was his expectation after his first offensive series.

Head coach Jon Gruden had new new marching orders.

“He just came up to me after that drive and said, ‘I’ve seen enough. You’re good. You’re done,’” Carr said. “I didn’t know that was his plan, or even if it was his plan.”

Maybe it was the sack-fumble Carr took on his final play. More likely, it was simpler than that. Gruden knows Carr will be the unquestioned starter, and he has more pressing concerns evaluating his backups.

Either way, Carr played just seven snaps in a 13-6 victory over Green Bay. He only played six to open the preseason against Detroit and zero last week at the L.A. Rams.

It’s a virtual certainty Carr won’t play a single second in Seattle Thursday night.

“I have seen enough,” Gruden said. “There isn’t much more for me to see.”

Carr has been excellent in training camp. He and Gruden have bonded over a shared work ethic and love of offensive schematics. He has applied Gruden’s teachings well, executing the coaches vision precisely and with great consistency. A few extra preseason snaps won’t change that.

Carr connected on a deep shot to Amari Cooper. It wasn’t a perfect throw, but Cooper high-pointed the ball and gained 49 yards. He just missed Lee Smith on the next play. His best throw came on 3rd-and-7 – a tough situation he hoped to get – a dime to Jared Cook that set up first-and-goal. Carr floated a perfect ball to Cook, who faked a cut inside before breaking outside toward the sideline.

After two runs and that sack, Gruden pulled the plug.

“I wanted to get Connor (Cook) first team all offensive line for a couple series,” Gruden said. “But we have a pretty good idea who our starters are on offense. I was really pleased with Derek on how he started the game.”

Carr was also happy with his work in the short stint.

“It was good to get back out there, complete some passes and have a third down,” Carr said. “I really wanted a tough third down, and we got it. It was good.”

That initial series should conclude Carr’s preseason. If that’s the case, as expected, Carr’s ready to get going Sept. 10 against the Rams.

“It is different because I don't play as much (in this preseason), but we get so many things done in practice,” Carr said. “It's very tough, it's game-like and the kind of things I need to see and feel. Going out there today and being able to get hit a couple times, move in the pocket and find throws was nice.

“You don't need too much of that in the preseason, but just to get a few plays in here and there is good. If we practice at speed the way that we do, I feel that you can go out there in preseason and play a couple plays and be ready for the season."

Carr has found great sync with Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson, starting receivers who also exited after the first series. That provides confidence he doesn’t need any more work, and he’ll go into the regular season primed and ready to produce.

“We get a lot of practice reps, especially the way Coach Gruden designs his practices, it's all around the quarterback,” Carr said. “He's setting it up so I can be the most prepared in his mind, it's not my mind. I feel good about it and if the coach feels good about it, you can guarantee the players feel good about it.

"I feel in good rhythm, I feel in sync with those guys. I have guys that are easy to throw to, they're easy to talk to, so it makes it a lot easier."

Why reported Darius Slay trade from Lions makes sense for Raiders

Why reported Darius Slay trade from Lions makes sense for Raiders

The Raiders were on the verge of the playoffs this past season, but their passing game took yet another step back. Besides the emergence of rookie Trayvon Mullen, the Silver and Black have plenty of question marks at cornerback as they move to Las Vegas. 

There could be help available, though. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Monday that the Detroit Lions have talked to multiple teams regarding a trade for their Pro Bowl cornerback, Darius Slay. 

Between need, their slew of draft picks and available cap space, the Raiders could be a perfect fit for a trade with the Lions. Let's start with how Slay would fit in the defense. 

Mullen is expected to man one side of the defensive backfield at cornerback, while the other side is a bit of a mystery. Daryl Worley is a free agent this offseason, but Nevin Lawson, Nick Nelson, Keisean Nixon and Isaiah Johnson all are options. None are Slay, though. Not even close. 

Slay, 29, made his third straight Pro Bowl this last season. He also was a First Team All-Pro in 2017 when he led the NFL with eight interceptions and 26 passes defensed. Since 2014, Slay has recorded at least two interceptions and 13 passes defensed every season. 

Per advanced analytics site Pro Football Focus, Slay has been the fifth-best cornerback in the game since 2014. 

The Raiders also have the draft picks to get a deal done. They own two first-round picks -- Nos. 12 and 19 -- this April, as well as three in the third round, one in the fourth and one in the seventh. They have plenty of leverage to make a move. 

Las Vegas also lands right in the middle of current available salary-cap space going into next season. According to Spotrac, the Raiders have slightly over $51.5 million in salary-cap space. Slay, who has a $13.4 million cap hit in 2020, wants a new contract as he's set to hit free agency after this upcoming season. 

[RELATED: Ex-Raider Nnamdi Asomugha talks about his life on Broadway]

He likely would cost more than a few extra pennies, but it's clear Slay still can be a solid corner in a division where everyone is chasing QB Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. 

The Raiders could target a cornerback early in the draft. That's not out of the question at all. If the Lions are taking calls on Slay like Schefter reported, Raiders general manager Mike Mayock would be wise to listen. 

How ex-Raiders star Nnamdi Asomugha transitioned from NFL to Broadway


How ex-Raiders star Nnamdi Asomugha transitioned from NFL to Broadway

Nnamdi Asomugha finds himself under a new set of bright lights. The former Raiders star cornerback, who ended his 11-year NFL career with the 49ers, now finds himself on Broadway

"I started the decade at the Pro Bowl, and I ended the decade on Broadway," Asomugha said in a recent interview with CBS' Dana Jacobson, which aired Friday. "I was like, 'This was really surreal.' This is not a dream that I ever had. And now, this is so clearly what I should be doing." 

Asomugha, now 38 years old, first dabbled in the entertainment business while still playing in the NFL. Towards the end of his career, he started working as a part-time NFL analyst when Jacobson worked at ESPN. He also did a commercial for Dick's Sporting Goods in 2009, and the director gave him words of encouragement regarding his acting skills. 

The three-time Pro Bowler said he started thinking about his post-playing career long before he was done playing football. He saw early on just how quickly your career can end. 

"You better start thinking about that long before you finish your career," Asomugha said. "I mean, I started noticing really my first year in the NFL that you can go down with an injury, your career can be over. You can get cut within moments. And then what are you gonna do?" 

The Cal product soon turned his focus to acting and producing. He said he "was a rookie again" and took acting classes.

Asomugha now has a long list of credits when looking at his IMDB page. The former football star was the executive producer for Netflix's "Beasts of No Nation" in 2015, and he starred in Amazon's "Crown Heights" in 2017.

But it was the Broadway stage where Asomugha found his true calling. He felt the same kind of rush he did on the football field when he made his Broadway debut in the award-winning "A Soldier's Play" earlier in February.

"They announce you, everyone's cheering," Asomugha recalled. "I kind of ran on to the stage and began our work. And I remember at that moment just being like, 'This is where I'm supposed to be.' ... That's football, isn't it? It's live. You don't get a second take, you better get it right.

"I developed that muscle so much, I'm at my best when I'm in the fire."

[RELATED: Why Raiders signing Brady could make sense for both sides]

Asomugha finished his football career after playing three games for the 49ers in 2013. He then retired as a Raider in December of that same year. And though he has found his new calling, he admits he misses the game that first brought him so much joy.

"That was a great time," Asomugha said. "Football is definitely my first love. Now finding this world in entertainment through acting and producing -- I didn't think I would love something as much as I did, but I'm so grateful now that I do."