Derek Carr getting wake-up call (literally) from Jon Gruden

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It was early in training camp when the famously early-rising Jon Gruden told Derek Carr he would come wake him up if an idea, or a play, popped into his head. At any hour.

Sure, Carr was game.

So long as Gruden knocked on the quarterback’s hotel room door first, and Carr was not rousted awake by the Oakland Raiders coach looming over him in bed.

“He always makes it uncomfortable for us,” Carr said of Gruden this offseason. “And now, playing a lot of football, it’s so uncomfortable in practice that when we get to the games, it’s going to be nice. … He is trying to take it to another level of just making you uncomfortable, giving you the toughest looks. He wants you to throw the ball away. He doesn’t want everything to be perfect every day.”

Gruden has never had a quarterback like Carr; Carr has never had a coach like Gruden. And it is in this relationship, Gruden grinding on Carr to get his mental edge up, where the Raiders’ chances for an offensive resurgence reside.

After playing for Dennis Allen, Tony Sparano and Jack Del Rio, Carr is on his fourth head coach in five pro seasons, and Gruden, purported QB whisperer that he is, has never had a franchise-type quarterback in his prime.

Sure, Gruden groomed Rich Gannon into a future NFL MVP, but before going to Gruden and Oakland in 1999, Gannon was a journeyman.6

“I think he had to convince Al Davis to sign me, because he already had Jeff George,” Gannon said. “He probably didn’t want some backup quarterback from Kansas City.

“It was refreshing. I needed someone to believe in me, and I just felt like Jon and I had a bond because we both had a lot to prove. We hit it off.”

Same song, new singer?

Gruden is trying to prove the game has not passed him by, while Carr and his five-year, $125 million extension has to prove last year’s regression was an aberration.

Look at this list of QBs to have started a regular-season game under center for Gruden since he coached his first NFL game in 1998: George, Donald Hollas, Wade Wilson, Gannon, Brad Johnson, Rob Johnson, Shaun King, Brian Griese, Chris Simms, Bruce Gradkowski, Tim Rattay, Jeff Garcia and Luke McCown.

Plus, of the four quarterbacks Gruden has drafted as a head coach — Marques Tuiasosopo, Simms, Gradkowski and Josh Johnson — only Simms started a game for him.