ALAMEDA, Calif. – The reason Derek Carr wears No. 4? It was donned by his favorite quarterback growing up. Guy by the name of Brett Favre. Oakland Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree even said last year Carr’s gunslinging ways reminded him of Favre.
The contemporary quarterback whose skill set most closely resembles that of Carr’s? Try the guy who replaced Favre in Green Bay. Guy by the name of Aaron Rodgers.
So agreed new Raiders tight end Jared Cook, who played with Rodgers and the Packers last season.
“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,” said Cook, who will be entering his ninth NFL season this fall and playing with his third team in three years.
“Number two would probably be ball placement and the way that the pass comes out. [It] 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.”
Cook began his NFL career in 2009 as a third-round draft pick of the Titans before playing for the Rams from 2013 through 2015 and then the Packers last season.
“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,” Cook said. “D.C. has that down.”
Remember Cook’s sideline catch in Dallas on a perfectly placed ball from Rodgers, the one that set up the Packers’ game-winning field goal in the playoffs last January?
Yeah, like that.
“The best thing about Derek, and I mean this sincerely, is that he wants to be great,” Raiders first-year offensive coordinator Todd Downing said. “He understands that to be great, it’s always a learning process. It’s always a growing process.
“For him, it could be something as a lead foot placement on an out-breaker to his left, and he wants to drill that and work it and work it because he happened to leave one ball inside a little bit in team period or something like that. For him, it’s just consistency. It’s taking those little details and refining them as much as he possibly can, so that when he has the perfect look, when he has the opportunity to attack a one-on- one, he’s as accurate as he can be or get us in and out of the right place and the right situations.”
Meanwhile, a mutual admiration society has seemingly developed between Carr and his new tight end, the quarterback calling Cook “competitive” but “very laid back” and a “cool dude” to have on the roster.
“He would have had a big touchdown today if he didn’t get tackled down the seam,” Carr said of Cook. “I say that because it’s exciting that we have a couple of tight ends that can stretch like that. That puts so much stress on a defense if they get a linebacker matched up on him or a safety who is more of a tackling type guy. That’s a troublesome thing for a defensive coordinator.”
“The possibilities are endless when you add a guy at that position that has that much speed vertically,” Carr said. “The things you can do with him really put a lot of stress on the defense.”
You could say the same about Carr … and Rodgers.