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What does Raiders’ Derek Carr want to get better at? It worked at Fresno State

Raiders have high optimism for 2019 season

The Oakland Raiders are in its third week of organized team activities before three-day mandatory minicamp next week.
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The Oakland Raiders are in its third week of organized team activities before three-day mandatory minicamp next week.

One glaring statistic in last year’s 4-12 slide by the Oakland Raiders: 51 sacks.

Starting training camp Saturday in Napa, quarterback Derek Carr took the blame for that deficiency and said there’s one area he must improve: scrambling.

“I need to do it better,” Carr said. “Especially in the second year of (coach Jon Gruden’s) system. It’s easier because you go through progressions faster. In my head I can eliminate certain things versus certain coverages and then get out and extend it, whereas last year I’m trying to do it so perfect and we had too many sacks. It wasn’t all on the offensive line. It’s my fault and I take the blame for all of it.”

It’s not that Carr can’t use his legs. In 2013, his senior season at Fresno State, Carr rushed 40 times for 117 yards and two touchdowns.

As a pro, Carr has one 100-yard-plus rushing (2015, 138 yards on 33 carries).

Last season, he finished with just 47 yards, though he picked up his first career rushing touchdown.

“Scrambling is something we worked on a lot” in the offseason, Carr said. “I feel like I am athletic enough to do some damage that way, and I haven’t done that well enough and I plan on doing that.”

Home sweet Bakersfield

Carr spent plenty of time with some of his wide receivers in the offseason, both in his Bay Area home and while visiting his parents in Bakersfield where the Carr Elite training facility is located.

Carr said his teammates sought him out.

“They didn’t wait for me to text them,” Carr said. “That was pretty cool to me. They’re showing up at my house and in Bakersfield and we get 10 guys and do a two-day mini camp. That stuff like that shows you what kind of guys (Raiders general manager) Mike Mayock and Gruden are bringing in. They are like, ‘I can’t wait to play football again. I can’t wait to put the pads on.’”

An eye-opener for Carr

Carr is in his sixth season in the NFL — all with the Raiders.

“What’s cool about this team is the expectation,” he said. “It’s just not coming from one person. We had a leaders meeting called by somebody else and we had 12 guys in there and the thing was the expectations ... I was just listening to him (he didn’t revel the player). The expectation and belief is different out of the voices I’m hearing than they used to be.”

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Anthony Galaviz writes about sports for The Fresno Bee. He covers the Oakland Raiders, high schools, boxing, MMA and junior colleges. He’s been with The Bee since 1997 and attended Fresno City College before graduating from Fresno State with a major in journalism and a minor in criminology.
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