ALAMEDA — Life without Derek Carr officially began Tuesday, with the Raiders returning to work for the first time since losing their starting quarterback to a broken fibula.
The Raiders as a matter of policy don’t confirm surgical procedures, but Carr himself passed along the news on Twitter.
“Surgery couldn’t have gone better! Received great news! Already started the recovery process!,” Carr said. “Thank you for all of your prayers as I heal up!”
Meanwhile, the long faces in the locker room on Christmas Eve have given way to optimism, with players invoking the NFL custom of “next man up.” In the Raiders case, that means backup quarterback Matt McGloin.
“Nobody wants to lose the starting quarterback, so it was an adjustment for that moment,” center Rodney Hudson said. “We’re confident (Matt’s) going to do a good job. He prepares well, works hard, and we’ve just got to do our part to make sure we stay sharp.”
McGloin started six games as an undrafted rookie in 2013, winning his starting debut in a 23-20 road win against the Houston Texans and losing his next five starts.
His only extended playing time in the last 47 games were single appearances replacing Carr due to injury in London against the Miami Dolphins in 2014 and in the 2015 regular-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The good news for the Raiders is there will be need for major tweaks to the offensive system, given that McGloin operates in a similar way in terms of execution and delivery.
McGloin, who will speak to the media Wednesday, goes about his job Monday through Friday much like the man he is replacing.
“I would say the only thing is McGloin probably swears a little more than Derek,” rookie quarterback Connor Cook said. “That’s the main difference.”
Tight end Mychal Rivera said McGloin brings a competitive edge that was evident when both players were rookies in 2013.
“He’s a leader at heart and a hard worker,” Rivera said. “It’s almost like he lives for being that underdog, and that’s what fuels him. We’re going to rally behind him and we’re excited for Sunday.”
In McGloin’s first start, Rivera caught five passes for 54 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown.
Wide receiver Andre Holmes, who also played with McGloin in 2013, cited the quarterback’s late 19-yard completion to Amari Cooper which put the Indianapolis game away after Carr was injured.
“He put the ball out there for Amari to go up and make a play on it,” Holmes said. “Those aer some of the things he did a lot when he was starting here a few years ago. He understands the abilities that his playmakers have. He has full confidence in those players having his back.”
This time around, McGloin has a far superior team around him as opposed to the Dennis Allen-coached Raiders that finished 4-12 in 2013.
“Now he’s got a running game and he’s got weapons like Crab and Amari, and tight ends that do a good job working the middle of the field,” running back Taiwan Jones said. “He knows we’ve got his back and we’ll keep the show going.”
In a podcast Tuesday with Monday Morning Quarteback’s Albert Breer, former Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson seconded the notion that Carr to McGloin should be a smooth transition in terms of preparation.
“You can’t minimize the loss of Derek Carr and how well he’s playing, but I think the staff believes in Matt and the locker room believes in Matt,” Olson said. “A lot of the traits they have are similar. They’re accurate, they make good decisions.”
Olson, the offensive coordinator in 2013-14, said McGloin is a “very capable backup quarterback and one that could probably be starting for a lot of teams this season. I think they’re confidenet in that, and there won’t have to be a lot of changes.”
Carr, whose chances of returning to the field even if the Raiders were to make the Super Bowl are extremely remote, is expected back soon.
“I think he’ll be back around tomorrow,” running back Latavius Murray said. “I know he’s not going to take time off or be away from this building if he doesn’t have to — that’s the kind of guy he is.”