Derek Carr is getting his second go-around this week against the team that helped make him a starter two months ago.
The rookie from Fresno State lit up the Seahawks' first- and second-team defense -- which rested four starters -- on Aug. 28 in the exhibition finale at the Oakland Coliseum. He went right at Richard
Sherman immediately away, targeting him for completions in the first quarter. He completed 11 of 13 passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns, including two scores on consecutive throws -- in just one quarter plus one drive of the Raiders' 41-31 win. He completed his last six passes and basically blew away the Raiders' original idea of having former Texans starter Matt Schaub as their No. 1 guy to begin this season.
Schaub has thrown one pass this season. It was intercepted.
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Whatever, Carr emphasized this morning, it was just a preseason game.
"I just wanted to go out and compete against the best. They are the best at what they do," Carr said this morning of the Seahawks. "I was just excited to get the opportunity to get to compete against that defense."
"To be honest with you, I didn't think too much of it, though. You know, it being a preseason game, it wasn't a regular-season game.
"This is the real deal now."
Asked how different he is as a quarterback now to then, Carr chuckled. He's become the only QB since 1970 AFL-NFL merger to start and lose the first six games of a rookie season.
"Oh, my goodness! I've learned a lot," Carr said. "I've grown a lot."
That Thursday night on the baseball dirt in Oakland in the preseason finale wowed the Raiders enough to change their plans and make Carr their man from Day 1 of the regular season that began the next week.
"It just confirmed some of the things we thought during the preseason," Oakland interim head coach Tony Sparano said this morning on our Seattle-media conference call with him and Carr, the 36th-overall pick in the second round of May's draft out.
Sparano was the Raiders' offensive-line coach and assistant head coach to Dennis Allen at the time. Allen got fired after Oakland's 0-4 start. Sparano, the Dolphins' head coach from 2008-11, is 0-3 and said he hasn't been told a word about what's next for him after this season.
"It was just a different vibe that came out of him (that night)," Sparano said of Carr. "We thought we might be missing an opportunity (by not naming him the starter).
"And if we go through bumps in the road, so be it."
Oh, yes, the bumps. They have been mountains.
I asked Sparano if he's concerned about damaging the psyche of a quarterback immediately into his pro career by playing him through all the losses.
"Honestly, with this particular player, I'm not worried about it," Sparano said, praising Carr's poise and perspective that is beyond his 23 years.
He said Carr, Schaub and third-stringer Matt McGloin -- a Raiders starter last season -- were in the team's weight room working out at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, the players' off day, two days after last weekend's 23-13 loss at Cleveland.
The words within the Raiders the last few weeks after competitive losses to San Diego (31-28), Arizona (24-13) and the Browns: "Oakland is beating Oakland." That's a reference to all the ill-timed penalties and rash of turnovers. The Raiders are minus-7 in turnover margin -- tied with Philadelphia for fourth-worst in the league.
Not exactly a recipe to upset the Super Bowl champions on their home field Sunday.
Then again, the Seahawks haven't exactly boat-raced supposedly lesser competition this season.