Even though Derek Carr continues to get acclimated playing for his new team, Thursday seemed like old times for the veteran quarterback.
Carr was back on the West Coast and going against an AFC West defense as the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Chargers went through the first of two days of joint practices.
“This is a great group to compete against. They’ve got some great defensive backs and schematically they match up well,” said Carr, who signed with the Saints during the offseason. “I thought we got to work on some tight window throws.”
The practice ended up being a mixed bag of results for Carr and the first team offense. Receivers Chris Olave and Michael Thomas made some nice catches, but Carr often found himself under pressure as the offensive line had trouble containing edge rushers Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa.
Carr played one series in last Sunday’s preseason opener against Kansas City, but he considers the joint workouts to be more beneficial.
“In the joint practices, people show more,” he said. “They’re gonna show some more press or they’re gonna show some more coverage, variations and things like that. You get more regular season type of looks in a joint practice than you would in a preseason game.”
The training camp cross-country trip is also allowing Carr to get to know his new teammates better. Carr said some position group dinners have been scheduled over the next couple days and leading into Sunday’s game.
“You’re sitting at the table with everybody again, instead of going home,” he said. “We got nowhere to go. The only thing you can do is get to know your teammates a little bit better, and that’s been a lot of fun for sure.”
Mack, who was also first-round pick with the Raiders with Carr in 2014, said he enjoyed going up against his old teammate again.
“I feel like that’s the most fun I have, when I’m on the field going back-and-forth with that guy,” Mack said. “It’s just like 2014 again, going into Oakland practicing against each other. It’s always fun.”
SPEAKING OF OLD TIMES
With his old team, the Las Vegas Raiders, also in Southern California for workouts against the Los Angeles Rams, Carr fielded plenty of questions about the team he played with for nine seasons and adjusting to a new team.
“I’m still adjusting and doing my best at it,” said Carr, who still has a house in Las Vegas. “I’ve learned Chipotle is not the only food in New Orleans. Whenever you get released somewhere there’s that fire. You get rejuvenated and you feel refreshed.”
Carr also said that he watched the Raiders-49ers game last Sunday after getting home from his game.
“I’ve got no hard feelings towards any of my guys, I want those guys to succeed because I know when you don’t succeed, it’s tough and it’s hard,” Carr said. “It’s hard on your family and everybody. I don’t want that for my friends.”
Joint workouts are known for chippy play and the occasional fights, but there wasn’t any of that on Thursday.
“(Saints coach) Dennis Allen and their group was good to work with today. This is a great work day. That’s the whole goal of these things,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said.
Saints rookie running back Kendre Miller returned to practice after suffering a mild knee sprain in last Sunday’s game. Miller is expected to be in the mix for carries with Alvin Kamara suspended for the first three games of the regular season.
Chargers defensive lineman Austin Johnson passed his physical and practiced for the first time. He had been on the physically unable to perform list since the start of camp after having season-ending surgery on his left knee last year.