David Carr was supposed to be the long-term franchise player that would lead the expansion Houston Texans to riches. They made him the No. 1 pick in the 2002 Draft, and he rewarded them by helping beat Dallas in the first regular-season game in the club’s history.
But since then, his career has spiraled upward and downward (but mostly downward). He played for some terrible Houston teams – he, of course, had something to do with that, though he also recorded some decent numbers (he led the league with a 68.3 completion percentage in 2006) – and he led the league in sacks in 2002, 2004 and 2005.
The past three seasons, he’s split his time between Carolina and the New York Giants and since leaving Houston, he’s been relegated to QB backup status. According to the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat’s Phil Barber , Carr has accepted that role with the 49ers and has developed a much better mindset.
"Now, it's so much about just football," Carr told Barber. "All that other stuff I worried about when I was younger, how the perception was, how I came across to certain people, even my teammates... If you master your football stuff and you go out there and you play like you're supposed to, everything will take care of itself."
One problem with Houston was that the coaching staff tinkered with his unusual throwing style. That meant he, at times, was thinking more about mechanics than about letting his instincts take over. As most NFL players will tell you, if you’re thinking about your mechanics while on the football field, you’re in trouble.
So, what about the San Francisco coaches? How have they handled Carr’s anything-but-ordinary motion? Barber writes:
In San Francisco, offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye and quarterbacks coach Mike Johnson have tinkered with Carr's footwork and weight transfer. No one has said a thing about his delivery, which again has come as a relief.
"I'm 30 yrs old," Carr said. "It's not gonna change."
His receivers certainly don't care. "I mean, you're kind of told when you first become a receiver to like watch the ball leave the quarterback's hand," Josh Morgan said. "But in true game situations, you can't see the quarterback. You just got to see it when it gets there anyway."
While Alex Smith is the established starting QB for San Francisco, Carr will battle with second-year player Nate Davis for the backup role. Right now, it appears Carr has taken a lead against Davis for the right to be No. 2. Which means, if Smith can’t live up to his own top-pick status – a very real possibility – Carr could receive another chance to become the breakout star he still believes he can be.
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