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Raiders' Derek Carr Talks Davante Adams, HC Josh McDaniels and More in B/R Interview

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 8, 2022

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The last time Davante Adams caught a pass from Derek Carr during a game was in the 2013 Las Vegas Bowl, but that is about to change with the Las Vegas Raiders' 2022 season approaching.

It's a good thing the quarterback and wide receiver have been preparing for this moment for years.

"What people didn't know is we lived one street away from each other in the Bay Area," Carr told Bleacher Report. "So when he would come back in the offseason, we were training for years together. It was only until I moved to Las Vegas, that was the only year that we didn't see each other.

"So we've always stayed close and always worked together, so it wasn't like it had really been nine years. We had been working out and training together for a long time. We always talked and dreamed about a day like this, so the fact that it gets to happen is awesome. But we don't want it to just be a cool thing that we get to do. We want to go out there and play well."

Throwing to his Fresno State teammate in the NFL will certainly help Carr reach that goal. After all, Adams is a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro who surpassed 1,300 receiving yards in three of the past four seasons and led the league with 18 touchdown catches in 2020 as a member of the Green Bay Packers.

He is arguably the NFL's best wide receiver, and his presence should also create more openings for Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller in the aerial attack. The Raiders surely had that in mind when they signed him to a five-year deal after acquiring him via trade.

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Reunited 🙌 <a href="https://twitter.com/derekcarrqb?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@derekcarrqb</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/tae15adams?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@tae15adams</a> <a href="https://t.co/hDwIpvJsnS">pic.twitter.com/hDwIpvJsnS</a>

Landing Adams is also part of putting last season in the past for Carr and Las Vegas.

While the Raiders made the playoffs for the first time since the 2016 campaign, they overcame plenty of adversity just to get there during a tumultuous season.

Carr reflected on last year and spoke about moving forward with a new season approaching.

"We did go through a lot," he said. "We're very excited for this season, really just to get back to playing football and hopefully not have to answer a whole bunch of questions about tragedies or drama or things like that. We had a whole bunch of stuff go on, and there was a loss of life that was included in that.

"As football players, we're asked that no matter what you have to go out and perform so we're trying to compartmentalize all of these different things and feelings and emotions, but we still have a job to do. And I was really proud of our team for coming together. We did make the playoffs, and it was awesome. But at the end of the day, it wasn't our end goal."

The Raiders also turned the page by hiring new head coach Josh McDaniels, who is quite familiar with what it takes to reach that end goal.

While his first stint as a head coach didn't go particularly well as he went 11-17 with the Denver Broncos in 2009 and 2010, he is best known for his time as the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots from 2006 through 2008 and again from 2012 through 2021.

McDaniels brings three Super Bowl rings as an offensive coordinator and plenty of experience working with the greatest of all-time in Tom Brady to his relationship with Carr, and the Raiders' signal-caller is impressed with what he's seen so far.

"Josh is great," Carr said. "He's a very detailed coach with offense, defense and special teams. He knows everything about every group in the building, and I think that's really impressive. He wants to make sure that everyone is on it every day. He's a great leader; he pushes us to be our best every day. He's honest all the time, and he's also there to tell us when it was good.

"His resume speaks for itself. He's coached some of the best players to ever play our game, so he has some great things to pull from. When he says something, you're like 'Yeah, that's probably right.' Learning from him and learning his philosophies and getting to know him on a personal level has been really fun for the both of us."

Working with McDaniels will give Carr an opportunity to improve on an already impressive list of accomplishments that includes three Pro Bowl selections and four straight years with more than 4,000 passing yards.

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QB1 extending his Vegas residency. 🤩<a href="https://twitter.com/derekcarrqb?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@derekcarrqb</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/Raiders?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Raiders</a> <a href="https://t.co/0or4zsSyLJ">pic.twitter.com/0or4zsSyLJ</a>

His peers are starting to notice, as he was named to the NFL Top 100 at No. 65 and returned to the player-determined list for the first time since 2018.

"Any time your peers, whether it's your teammates voting you a captain or making the Top 100 or after you play a team and someone saying something about you and saying you're a good player, that right there means the world," he said.

"People on the outside are going to have different views, no matter who you are, they're going to be split. But when you play against guys and they respect you, that means a lot. We work so hard and you do want to be respected for your work, like anybody. To me, it's always a cool thing when people vote you for those things."

Finding the success to reach the NFL Top 100 on the field often starts off it for Carr.

It is fitting, then, that he reached a multiyear partnership with OOFOS to become the first active NFL player with a recovery footwear deal. The company is now the official recovery footwear of the Raiders as the team looks to use its OOfoam technology to help make it through the season.

Photo Credit: OOFOS

"It's been a really cool relationship because it's a product that I really believe in," Carr said. "It's not just 'Hey, will you hold these up and take a picture and we'll pay you for it?' It's not that at all. I literally have 20 pairs of these things that I wear every day. I've bought them for my family. I've bought them for teammates. Seeing them wearing them four years later after I bought them over time showed me that I'm not the only one who feels this way."

The Raiders are going to need that recovery wear to deal with the gauntlet that is the AFC West.

The division was difficult enough last season with the powerhouse Kansas City Chiefs as the measuring stick, the Raiders making the playoffs, the Los Angeles Chargers finishing above .500 and even the last-place Broncos proving dangerous at times on the way to a 7-10 record.

And now it's even better with four legitimate contenders.

While Kansas City lost Tyreek Hill, it still has Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce and added JuJu Smith-Schuster. The others played a game of attempting to better each other with the Raiders adding Adams, the Broncos landing future Hall of Famer Russell Wilson and the Chargers bolstering their defense with J.C. Jackson and Khalil Mack.

Marcel Louis-Jacques @Marcel_LJ

Does the AFC West now have the best collection of quarterbacks of any division that we’ve ever seen? <a href="https://t.co/4Z7auKX2HD">https://t.co/4Z7auKX2HD</a>

But Carr is more worried about what Las Vegas can control than what everyone else is doing.

"It sounds so cliche, and it's not a fun answer, but we are completely focused on every day coming into the building and doing right," he said. "If you start thinking about 'Well they have this and that,' it doesn't help anything to think about it. Obviously we know everyone was trying to one up each other in the division. But at the end of the day, talking about it doesn't matter.

"We're so completely focused on ourselves and just trying to make sure that we're ready to go. We do know that they're good football teams, we do know that they're super talented teams. We have to make sure that we're ready to go against those guys and go out and compete."

That's welcome news for Raiders fans because the AFC West will make them pay if they're not ready.

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