Raiders coach says Derek Carr destined for greatness


Oakland Raiders British-born assistant coach Al Saunders has worked with a host of top-notch quarterbacks during his 31 years in the NFL and feels the Silver and Black’s rookie passer Derek Carr can be just as successful as some of the league’s all-time greats.

Offensive consultant Saunders, who is a native of Hendon, England, has tutored stars such as Joe Montana, Dan Fouts, Kurt Warner and Joe Flacco. And he insists Carr is heading for a very special future indeed with the Silver and Black.

Speaking exclusively to after Oakland’s practice in the UK today, Saunders said:

“Derek has done a tremendous job. I’ve had the good fortune in this business to coach some pretty good players and I think he is going to be one of those types of guys down the road. Time will tell.

“You talk about quarterbacks having it from the neck up and the waist down. The neck up means the intelligence, the composure and the temperament to play the game and he has all of that. He also has the great athletic skills – he is a really compact thrower and a really accurate thrower.”

Carr supplanted veteran Matt Schaub as the starter in Oakland on the eve of the 2014 season. He has endured mixed fortunes while hitting on 68 of 108 passes for 588 yards, 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Carr has a respectable passer rating of 74.9 and has added 57 rushing yards. But, most importantly, he is still searching for his first win in the NFL as the Raiders are 0-3.

Saunders stated:

“He will grow as a player. Peyton Manning was 1-15 as a rookie in the National Football League and look at him now. I’m not saying he is Peyton Manning, but he has that path to follow. His brother (David) playing in the NFL has been a big advantage and he has a great bloodline. He is a tremendous young player and, more than that, he is a tremendous ambassador for the game.

“I told him after his second game in the NFL that he was the right man at the right time for this organisation and he will win a championship before it’s all over. I really believe that – he has all the tools to be a great one.”

Carr will lead Oakland into battle against the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium on Sunday evening and a sold-out crowd of more than 80,000 British NFL fans is sure to create an electric atmosphere in London.

So will the stage be too big for Oakland’s young signal-caller?

Saunders replied: “If playing New England on the road is not too big for Derek and opening on the road at New York against that Jets defense is not too big for him, playing at Wembley is going to be just fine and the British people will enjoy watching him play.

“Derek’s maturity is something that really works in his favour. He’s got it between the ears intelligence and temperament-wise and he’s somebody we’re all going to enjoy watching down the road.”

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