Only one rookie quarterback will start an NFL season opener this week, and he wasn’t a first-round draft pick.
Derek Carr, a second-round selection from Fresno State, will be under center for the Oakland Raiders on Sunday for the season opener on the road against the New York Jets.
Carr beat out veteran Matt Schaub, who was expected to be the starter after being acquired in the offseason. Schaub, who was slowed by an elbow injury in the preseason, spent the past seven years starting for the Houston Texans.
“There were a lot of factors involved,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said of the decision. “It’s not an indictment on Matt Schaub. Derek Carr is mature beyond his years. We feel very comfortable with him helping us win football games.”
Emphasizing that the decision is permanent, not subject to week-to-week changes, Allen added, “Derek is the starting quarterback.”
Carr, 23, appeared in three of the Raiders’ four preseason games. He completed 30 of 45 passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. He was sacked twice.
In last week’s exhibition finale, Carr went 11-for-13 for 143 yards with three touchdown passes against the reigning Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.
Schaub was 24-for-47 for 218 yards with an interception and no TD passes in the preseason. He didn’t appear in the Seattle game.
“He’s disappointed,” Allen said of Schaub. “I think any competitor would be. He’s handling it like a pro. It’s not an easy situation to be in. He understands how things operate. He’ll be ready when his number’s called.”
Schaub replaced Carr’s brother, David Carr, as the Texans’ starting quarterback for the beginning of the 2007 season.
Last season, Schaub appeared in 10 games, eight starts, and he completed 61.2 percent of his passes for 2,310 yards with 10 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions. Over his career, which began with three seasons as an Atlanta Falcon, Schaub has a 64 percent completion rate with 24,254 passing yards, 130 TD passes and 84 interceptions.
The Raiders acquired him in March in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick. Schaub will earn a guaranteed $8 million this year.