Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has been chosen to be the Week 1 starter vs. the New York Jets. / Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports
Somewhere in the New York Jets compound, the news had to stir the creative juices within coach Rex Ryan and defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman.
They are getting first crack at a rookie quarterback.
The Oakland Raiders will open the season at the Meadowlands on Sunday with second-round pick Derek Carr as the starter, rather than creaky veteran Matt Schaub.
Jets coaches will surely show the rookie a few welcome-to-the-NFL blitz packages more exotic than anything he saw during the preseason.
Ready or not.
Carr extends a streak dating to 2008 where at least one rookie quarterback opened the season as the starter in Week 1.
Maybe it appeared that one of the three first-round picks â?? Jacksonville's Blake Bortles, Minnesota's Teddy Bridgewater or even Cleveland's Johnny Manziel â?? would be that guy this season.
Circumstance dictated that Carr, a Fresno State product whose selection in May energized the fan base, is that choice.
What does this say about Schaub?
The Raiders traded a draft pick for him during the offseason to presumably hold the job until Carr was ready. But poor performances and a sore elbow put Schaub on ice. After last year's failure with Matt Flynn, this further demonstrated general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen are a bit sketchy when projecting veteran quarterbacks.
Maybe they got it right with Carr, who was very impressive in the preseason finale. Allen said Carr's confidence-boosting performance â?? 11-of-13, 143 yards, 3 TD passes â?? confirmed what he's seen from a quarterback maturing at a faster rate than expected.
Carr has apparently demonstrated he gives Oakland its best chance to win.
Especially if the Greg Olsen-coordinated unit can lean on running backs Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden and Marcel Reese to take the heat off Carr with a dependable rushing attack like, say, Atlanta did for Matt Ryan and Baltimore for Joe Flacco in 2008, and like the Jets did for Mark Sanchez in 2009.
If you're McKenzie and Allen, you need this move to pay off sooner than later. After two seasons of floundering while clearing up the salary cap fiasco they inherited, Allen and McKenzie are pressured to win now â?? or at least demonstrate to team owner Mark Davis that a program without a winning season in 11 years is on the legitimate upswing.
That might also explain the offseason haul of veterans that include Jones-Drew, Jason Tuck, LaMarr Woodley and Donald Penn.
The risk with rookie quarterbacks always includes ruining their confidence by playing them too soon. Carr can ask his big brother, David, who flopped after being drafted No. 1 overall in 2002. The Houston Texans didn't support him well enough â?? evidenced by the NFL-record 76 sacks David absorbed as a rookie -- while facing the enormous task of building from scratch as an expansion franchise.
Derek steps into a better situation with the Raiders, and he doesn't have to live up to the pressure of being the No. 1 pick overall.
But there's enough pressure, regardless. Carr is the 18th starting quarterback since 2003 for a franchise that has suffered through the likes of JaMarcus Russell and Andrew Walter, and last year rolled with Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin.
They are starving for a franchise quarterback, and even better, the zanies in the Black Hole already have a connection with Carr, who grew up in Bakersfield, Calif.
Then there's that other pressure. It will come from the opponents, starting with the Jets, with the J.J. Watt-Jadeveon Clowney tandem, then Bill Belichick's schemes just around the corner.
Nothing provides experience and teaches lessons like live game reps. Carr was going to have to take his lumps as a young quarterback whenever he stepped on the field.
But clearly that future and the lumps that come with it, is now.
Read the original story: Bell: Raiders need rookie Derek Carr to pan out quickly