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Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr Selected For First Pro Bowl

Photo by Shawn Jonas

ALAMEDA, Calif. Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr was named to his first Pro Bowl, the NFL announced Wednesday. Carr, who was originally selected as an alternate for the Pro Bowl, replaces Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, who is unable to participate due to injury.

“First, I want to thank God for the opportunity to be able to go to Hawaii,” said Carr. “Secondly, I want to thank my family, my friends, my teammates, my coaches and all of Raider Nation for their support. Third, I want to thank everyone who voted for me and all of the opposing players and coaches that voted for me. That means more to me than they know. Go Raiders!”

Carr’s teammates S Charles Woodson, FB Marcel Reece and DE Khalil Mack were also selected to the NFL’s all-star game, to be played at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium on Jan. 31. In December, RB Latavius Murray and rookie WR Amari Cooper were also named alternates for the Pro Bowl.

One of the NFL’s most dynamic young passers, Carr becomes the first Raiders quarterback to be named to the Pro Bowl since Rich Gannon in 2002 after starting all 16 games. He threw for 3,987 yards on 350-of-573 passing (61.1 percent) with 32 touchdowns and 13 interceptions for a passer rating of 91.1. He also added career-high rushing totals with 33 attempts for 138 yards (4.2 avg.).
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound signal caller finished his sophomore campaign tied for seventh in the NFL in passing touchdowns and 300-yard passing performances with six. Carr also recorded four fourth-quarter comeback drives, five games with a rating of at least 100.0 (5-0 record) and 11 multi-touchdown games, tied for third in the NFL.

Carr was named the Castrol Edge Clutch Performer of the Week twice in 2015 after leading the Raiders on fourth-quarter scoring drives to secure comeback victories. In Week 2 against Baltimore, he threw for a career-high 351 yards and three scores, including the game-winning touchdown pass with 26 seconds remaining. Carr again led a fourth-quarter comeback drive and threw a touchdown pass with 1:21 remaining to defeat the Tennessee Titans on the road in Week 12. Carr tied a single-game high by throwing four touchdowns in back-to-back games in Weeks 8 and 9, against the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers, respectively.

The native of Bakersfield, Calif., joined the Raiders in 2014 as the team’s second-round selection (36th overall) in the NFL Draft. He has started all 32 games over his first two NFL seasons, becoming the first offensive player to do so in Raiders franchise history. Carr is the owner of 53 career touchdown passes, the second most ever by a player through his first two NFL seasons.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Raiders Comeback To Beat Titans 24-21; Derek Carr Drives Team 90 Yards For Go Ahead Score

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Oakland Raiders found a way to pull out a win on a wet, rainy day.  Derek Carr threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Seth Roberts with 1:21 left.  The Raiders stopped a three-game skid by edging the Tennessee Titans 24-21 Sunday.

The Raiders (5-6) had a 17-6 lead in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter with just minutes remaining they found themselves behind 17-21.

Offensive Coordinator/Play Caller Bill Musgrave went ultra conservative after the 17-6 lead.  Almost every Raiders offensive series started with two runs on first and second down followed by a desperate 3rd down pass. Most passes were at or behind the line of scrimmage.  Bubble screens were used in back to back drives.  The team went 3-and-out multiple times during that stretch. The play calling was confusing seeing that the Raiders only had a 3-point lead for most of the second half. The young cast on offense struggled to get in any rhythm until Musgrave finally took the reigns off Carr on their final offensive drive with a 4-point deficit.   To add to the offense stalling out, Derek Carr fumbled the ball on a Center exchange with back up Tony Bergstrom. The Titans took advantage of the short field and scored the go ahead touchdown with 4:13 remaining.

“I’m really proud of the way they guys stayed in it,” Oakland coach Jack Del Rio said. “It was tough. There was a reason to be discouraged. You’re in control of the game, you fumble it and all of a sudden they go down and get a score. And it’s `Oh my gosh, what are we going to do?’ Well, we’re going to go down there and find a way to get it in there and get a score.”

The Titans (2-9) lost for the ninth time in 10 games after rallying to take a 21-17 lead. They thought they had a game-saving play when safety Michael Griffin broke up a pass in the end zone on fourth down.

But officials flagged B.W. Webb for holding on the other side of the field.

Del Rio said rookie Amari Cooper was held. Webb tried to find the official, saying later he never held the receiver. Titans interim coach Mike Mularkey said he had no idea where the flag came from and did not agree with the penalty.

“The one call is the call, it changes the game, changes the outcome of the game,” Mularkey said. “It’s frustrating, very frustrating.”

Carr said he started yelling instantly about the flag. Two plays later, Carr hit Roberts for the winning touchdown. He finished with 330 yards and three TDs in his sixth 300-yard passing game this season.

“We get another chance, and we go win it,” Carr said. “Finally, we won today and it just feels good.”

Nate Allen ended the Titans’ last chance by intercepting rookie Marcus Mariota with 43 seconds left. Mariota took the blame for not looking elsewhere.

“I’ll find ways to get better and help our team win some games,” he said.

Roberts finished with six catches for 113 yards and two TDs, and Cooper had seven receptions for 115 yards. Khalil Mack had two sacks for the Raiders, who outgained Tennessee 407-249 and held the ball for nearly 35 minutes.

The Titans now have lost 11 straight on their home field and are tied for the third-worst home skid. Mariota threw for 218 yards and three TDs, but he was intercepted twice, with the last one coming with no receiver in the area.

Oakland’s mistakes helped Tennessee turn a game where the Raiders had been cruising into a frantic finish.

The Raiders were flagged 11 times for 94 yards, with two of those penalties keeping Tennessee TD drives alive, and Carr himself set up the Titans’ go-ahead TD by fumbling a snap. Defensive end DaQuan Jones fell on the ball for the Titans, and Mariota threw a 1-yard TD pass to Jalston Fowler to make it 21-17 with 4:41 left.

Carr briefly left after taking a shot from Jones on the opening series of the game. But the second-year quarterback returned in time to throw for 187 yards and a touchdown by halftime and Oakland led 10-6 at the break.

Game notes
Carr joined Rich Gannon (10 in 2002) and Carson Palmer (six in 2012) as the only Raiders quarterbacks with six or more 300-yard passing games in a season. … Denico Autry blocked Ryan Succop’s first extra-point try for the first miss by the Titans since 2006 and the first missed extra point in Succop’s career. The Titans kicker had been perfect on his first 205 attempts, including all 18 this season. … Crabtree now has a TD catch in five of his past six games. … Oakland is 4-0 when being flagged for 10 or more penalties.

The Oakland Raiders Select Alabama Wide Receiver Amari Cooper Fourth-Overall In The 2015 NFL Draft

April 31, 2015 9:58 PM PT

Alameda, California– With the fourth-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders selected WR Amari Cooper (Alabama). The 2014 Fred Biletnikoff Award winner and Hesiman Trophy finalist joins the Silver and Black after a three-year career with the Crimson Tide (2012-14), totaling 228 receptions for 3,463 yards (15.2 avg.) with 31 TDs. Here is some more information on the Raiders’ first-round selection, as well as a closer look at some highlights from Cooper’s illustrious collegiate career.

In three years at Alabama, Cooper emerged as one of the nation’s most explosive and polished receivers. Below is a look at his offensive totals at Alabama.

RECEIVING

Year      School       Games     Rec     Yds       Avg    TD

2012   Alabama       14             59    1,000    16.9   11

2013   Alabama       12             45      736     16.4      4     

2014   Alabama       14          124    1,727   13.9     16

 TOTALS                       40          228    3,463   15.2    31

AWARDS

2014 Fred Biletnikoff Award winner — Nation’s top wide receiver –

2014 Unanimous All-American and Preseason All-American

2014 SEC Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-SEC
Third in 2014 Heisman Voting (1,023 points)

2012 Consensus All-American (FWAA, Sporting News, CBSSports.com, CollegeFootballNews.com and Scout.com)

2012 SEC All-Freshman (selected by coaches)

TITLES

Two-time SEC Champion (2012, 2014) – BCS National Champion (20

He had 228 catches for 3,463 yards and 31 touchdowns in three seasons. That includes a standout junior season where he had an NCAA best 1,724 receiving yards.
Here is a brief look at where Cooper’s offensive exploits ranked among his peers in the SEC and NCAA, along with some other notables from his Alabama career:

Receiving Touchdowns

• Ranks first in SEC annals (since 1956) with 31 career TDs
• Finished first in the SEC, and second in the NCAA, with 16 TDs in

2014
• Second in the SEC with 11 TDs as a freshman in 2012, an Alabama freshman record

Receptions

• Ranks third in SEC history (since ‘56) with 228 career receptions
• Topped the SEC and NCAA in 2014 with 124 receptions, setting the

SEC record
• In 2012, finished with 59 cathces, second all-time among Alabama

freshmen

Receiving Yards

• Second all-time in SEC history (since ‘56) with 3,463 yards
• Led the SEC, finishing second in the NCAA, with 1,727 yards in 2014 • His 1,000-yard season in 2012 was good for fifth in the SEC that season, and the third-best yardage total among Alabama freshman

Jack Del Rio, ” Polished”

“The repetitions that he’s had playing the position, running the route tree and doing all the things that he’s done to develop himself, makes him a guy that has that label of being polished,” Del Rio said. “That’s why. He’s earned it.

“It’s rare when you find guys that come into the league and they have that kind of polish on them coming out. Typically, guys have something they haven’t done. He has pretty much done all those things. He knows how to get off press. He knows how to attack defenses, find the soft spots and run the full complement of the route tree. So that sets him apart in terms of the rest of this (draft) class.”

Jack Del Rio answers a question about if you ink Amari Cooper in as a starter from day one.

“I think the way we like to do things is to come in and earn your role and compete,” Del Rio said. “But the expectation level should be high for a young man that comes in that is selected that high in the draft. But he’ll need to prove it on the field and earn it. That’s how, really, it is with everybody. There certainly is a high expectation that goes along with somebody selected that high.”

 

General Manager Reggie McKenzies Comments:

“Cooper was high on our board from the start,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “Honestly, it didn’t matter about the position. It was about the player. We thought we had a chance to get a really good player.

“It’s nice when it goes hand in hand, when you have a player that fits one of your needs. It was great when that fell into place.”

Raiders only meeting with Amari Cooper was at the combine. They didn’t bring him in for a workout. They learned about Cooper by talking to people around the Wide Receiver.   They also had some inside knowledge of the player. Linebackers coach Sal Suneri’s son Vinny was a defensive at Alabama with Cooper from 2012-13.

He’s a character player supremely focused on football, but McKenzie also lauded Cooper’s on-field ability, which the Raiders have studied for some time.

“It seems like he can run a route with his eyes closed,” McKenzie said. “He’s exceptionally quick. He’s fast and he understands the game. You can tell the guy’s been playing football and playing that position all his life. You can tell that. He’s an extremely hard worker and you don’t hear any negatives about this guy, so it’s no wonder he’s as good as he is because the intangibles outside of his skill set are extremely high.”

“When Cooper was there, we were excited,” McKenzie said. “We had an idea of kind of how the draft would go, but when Cooper was officially there, it wasn’t a whole lot of debate.”

 

Amari Cooper’s Conference call Q & A

Q: Considering the Raiders weren’t one of the teams that brought you in for a visit, how shocked were you to hear your name called when they were on the clock?

Cooper: “I wasn’t that shocked. I kind of knew they liked me.”

Q: How did you get that feeling that they liked you?

Cooper: “Just talking to them at the combine.”

Q: You were targeted 170-something times last year. As an NFL rookie, you might not be targeted that many times. Is that going to be frustrating for you?

Cooper: “No. I’m just going to work as hard as I can and whatever results yield from that, I’ll be fine with it.”

Q: People talk about how polished you are. What are some of the things that you think you still need to work on most?

Cooper: “Just being consistent in my performance. Looking the ball all the way through every single time, so that I can catch the ball as many times as it’s thrown to me. High-pointing the ball every time. Just the small things to make me a better player.”

Q: Do you know anything about Derek Carr?

Cooper: “From what I’ve heard, he’s a really great, young quarterback. To be honest, I didn’t watch many NFL games last year. What I’ve heard, he’s a really good quarterback and I can’t wait to build a rapport with him.”

Q: How much did Lane Kiffin help you to develop to the player you are?

Cooper: “He wanted to see every player reach their fullest potential. He harped on the small things with me, like looking the ball all the way through and high-pointing the ball so that I can be the best player that I can be.”

Q: How did you develop your approach? Where did that come from?

Cooper: “Just being diligent and conscientious as a receiver. Just trying to be the best I can be. I think for the most part, it’s come because I’ve played this position all my life. Usually when you get a wide receiver at the college level, they haven’t played wide receiver their whole life.”

Q: How young were you when you started playing wide receiver?
Cooper: “Third grade. From the time I started playing football, I’ve always played the same position.”

Q: How did you choose to play wide receiver in the third grade?

Cooper: “I didn’t choose it. I wanted to play running back because when you’re young, all teams really do is run the ball. We had two great running backs, one was the coach’s son and the other one was really good, but they knew I was a great athlete, too, and they used me at receiver.”

Q: One thing that you are better at than most prospects is your route-running. How much of that have you focused on?

Cooper: “I’m a wide receiver. There are only two ways you can get open at wide receiver, your releases and the top of your route. The whole route-running process is really important. I just focused on it and try to be the best that I can at it so I can create as much separation I can for my quarterback.”

Q: Did you watch any specific wide receiver on film to pattern yourself after?

Cooper: “When I started playing wide receiver at a very young age, my coaches tried to teach me how to run a route. I was already good at it because I had been doing it already in my backyard, I just didn’t know what the routes were called. I was pretty good at cutting so it came pretty natural and pretty easy.”

Q: What’s your experience level with California and the Bay Area?

Cooper: “I’ve been there twice just recently. I went there for a Nike shoot and for [ESPN’s] Sports Science. My first time being there was in the past month.”

Q: So, in fourth or fifth grade, you’re in your backyard running routes?

Cooper: “No it was before that. It was when I was like five or six before I started playing organized football. Me and my friends were in the backyard just playing football.”

Q: So you’d just run the routes and they’d throw to you?

Cooper: “Yeah, we would just play against each other. We’d try to guard each other. We had to find ways to get open, that’s what I mean when I say I was already running routes. I was just finding ways to get open. When I had to run a slant route or a comeback route, which the coach called it, I was already familiar with running and getting open so it came easy.”

Q: Would you say it was perfecting your route running that led to your breakout season last year?

Cooper: “It was a combination of different things. I think my mindset is probably the most important thing. Being able to stay positive through whatever injury I had or whatever situation I was going through and focusing on the best player I can be and the best teammate I can be.”

Q: What drew you to football as a kid?

Cooper: “Probably this place called The Barnyard, it was my after school program.”

What They Are Saying

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