ALAMEDA, Calif. – Oakland rookie Derek Carr will start the regular-season opener against the New York Jets on Sunday, becoming the first Raiders quarterback to start the first game of his rookie season.
Coach Dennis Allen announced Monday that Carr would be the starter for the foreseeable future ahead of Matt Schaub, who struggled in the exhibition season and has been hampered by a sore elbow.
Carr, a second-round pick out of Fresno State in May, will become the 18th starting quarterback for the Raiders since the start of the 2003 season.
“We’ve seen signs of Derek Carr’s development from the day he stepped on campus here to where he is at right now,” Allen said. “We’ve seen him grow by leaps and bounds and I think he’s ready to accept the challenge.”
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Schaub was anointed starter after being acquired in a trade from Houston in March but has been outplayed by Carr all summer. Carr solidified the starting job by throwing three touchdown passes and leading the Raiders to the end zone four times in as many drives against the Seahawks last week.
“It’s not an indictment on Matt Schaub at all,” Allen said. “I feel very confident in Matt Schaub. I think it says more about (where) we feel Derek Carr is in his progression.”
Carr threw for 5,083 yards and 50 touchdowns, with eight interceptions, last season in a spread offense at Fresno State that included many quick screens and almost exclusively shotgun formations.
But he also played one season in college in a prostyle offense under former Bulldogs coach Pat Hill and has made the transition back to that kind of system since joining the Raiders.
Carr joins his older brother, David, as rookies to start in the season opener. According to STATS, they are the only brothers to do that since at least 1950. David won his debut for the expansion Houston Texans against Dallas in 2002 but never developed into the quarterback the Texans were hoping for when they picked him first overall.
Sam isn’t part of practice squad
ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Rams signed 10 players to their practice squad and defensive end Michael Sam wasn’t among them.
Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team, was taken in the seventh round this year. The Rams released the former Missouri standout Saturday.
• Tight end Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots announced he will be playing in Sunday’s opener in Miami.
“I’m super excited,” said Gronkowski, who didn’t play in any of the four exhibition games as he continued his recovery from right-knee surgery in December.
• High-profile players who missed time because of injuries and returned to the practice field Monday include Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (ribs), Buffalo rookie receiver Sammy Watkins (rib) and Denver receiver Wes Welker (concussion).
Newton practiced for the first time since Aug. 22 and coach Ron Rivera said he expects the two-time Pro Bowl QB to play in Sunday’s opener at Tampa Bay.
Former Clemson standout Watkins, the fourth player drafted this year, aggravated his injury last week but said he is preparing to play in Sunday’s opener at Chicago.
Welker practiced for the first time since getting a concussion in an Aug. 23 exhibition against Houston.
• Tennessee signed kicker Ryan Succop, who was waived by Kansas City on Saturday.
To make room for Succop, the Titans waived former Washington Huskies kicker Travis Coons.
• San Francisco signed offensive tackle John Fullington, a former Washington State Cougar, to its practice squad. He was released by Green Bay on Saturday.
• Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, known for making optimistic statements, told fans at a kickoff luncheon the team is facing an “uphill battle.”
Dallas went 0-4 in the exhibition season and was outscored 116-60.
“I think there is a difference between being optimistic and assessing the odds,” Jones said. “You’ve got guys out there, no-name guys. You’ve got guys out there who retired. You’ve got guys who are coming back from injury. Man, this is a ‘to-prove’ group.”