TJ Carrie was already demonstrating that he was a standout rookie during organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp and the trend has continued through to training camp. In an interview after the first padded practice, Raider Nation saw a poised player who wasn’t fazed at all by the media or by their questions. Carrie seems to be taking everything in stride and trying to make the most of every opportunity that comes his way especially when it comes to the veterans on the team.
When asked if he’d been interacting with the veterans much, Carrie responded, “Oh man, it’s been good. Knowing a couple of vet players coming in already it was easier for the transition to come in, for me personally. I can’t speak for every other rookie but knowing them and getting adjusted to them, they showed me the ropes early on in OTAs and in the offseason . So I got to adjust to the system a lot quicker than normal for what’s expected for a rookie, which is something I like. Now I’m more comfortable around the vets.”
When asked about whether or not Carrie utilizes Charles Woodson and his expertise, Carrie talked about how he has a question for Woodson on a daily basis and is constantly trying to get different notes, a different perspective of the game. Carrie recognizes the fact that because Woodson has been playing for 17 years, Woodson sees the game in a different light than say a rookie would or even a fifth year player would. Carrie said, “He’s been in the game so long that he sees the unnatural, the unnormal that we might not see. So I definitely try to pick his brain and get a lot of information that I might not pick up until my third or fourth year. So being able to have him there I can pick up things a lot faster.
Head Coach Dennis Allen had already been talking about Carrie in the offseason, saying that he was seeing impressive things from the rookie early on. After the first padded practice for the Raiders, media asked Allen what had impressed him about Carrie and whether or not that was carrying through to training camp. Allen talked about how Carrie really reminded him of a player that he had back in Denver named Chris Harris. Harris was also an undrafted free agent who was relatively unknown, but Allen talked about how he’d see him making plays here and there that would catch his eye. “At first, you don’t really think a whole lot of it until Day Three, Day Four, Day Five, Day Six, and he continues to make plays. That’s really how TJ was. We drafted him in the seventh round. We thought we had some talent. We thought he had some ability, but I think he’s more mature than maybe I would have known from a rookie DB coming in from Ohio. He’s got a better understanding of what we’re asking him to do and what the offense is trying to do to him. I think just instinctively, I’ve been very impressed with his knowledge of the game.”
Raider Nation was already starting to panic as news spread that CB DJ Hayden would be entering training camp on the PUP list, but it would seem that the Raiders have plenty of players ready to step up and fill that void. Carrie is really stepping up and continuing to surprise coaches and is carrying well and seems to be one of the most mature rookies currently on roster.