NFL Wire News

With Carr hampered, Ponder gets snaps as No. 1 QB


The Sports Xchange

ALAMEDA, Calif. — As the Oakland Raiders began their second week of OTAs on Tuesday, starting quarterback Derek Carr was able to take some snaps on running plays during drills, showing he can hand off and pitch out with an undisclosed injury to his right hand.

As for throwing the ball, that hasn’t happened yet. Free-agent addition Christian Ponder took snaps as the starting quarterback for the second week. A source close to Carr maintains the injury is minor (ESPN reported it was an issue with the ring finger on his throwing hand) and that he could be back in action soon.

The Raiders have another week of OTAs remaining before their mandatory minicamp on June 9-11. Regardless, Carr has missed time getting his timing down with new wide receivers such as Michael Crabtree and top draft pick Amari Cooper, as well as Rod Streater, who missed most of last season with a broken foot.

“He was able to take some snaps and we’ll bring him along,” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said. “I think things are progressing.”

It is Del Rio’s policy to not disclose injuries in the offseason.

Streater admits to some frustration because he missed so much time with Carr last season and now that he’s healthy, Carr can’t throw.

“He’s out there, so I feel he is learning,” Streater said. “He is a pro. He is going to do what he has to do to make sure he understands the plays. Obviously, the timing won’t be there, but we have plenty of time for him to get back and get in the rhythm. He is a good enough player to do that.”

In the meantime, Ponder, a 10-game winner as a 16-game starter in 2012 and reunited with offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, is getting the work with the first team over Matt McGloin.

Ponder signed as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason and realizes his status at No. 1 is only temporary.

“My job, I understand, is the backup and I’m here to help Derek and help this team out,” Ponder said. “It’s exciting for me to be out there right now taking first-team reps, but I know this is Derek’s team right now.”

Ponder and Carr have formed a quick bond but haven’t yet had the “fame is fleeting as an NFL starter” talk.

“We haven’t had the conversation yet,” Ponder said. “I think he’s kind of experiencing that right now with what he’s dealing with. He’ll be back soon enough, but football is kind of an up-and-down experience for most. Not everyone plays a 15-year career and is at the top of his game every year.”

After taking Minnesota to a 10-6 record in an offense that relied on Adrian Peterson’s running ability, Ponder battled with both Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman in 2013 and then last year was at No. 3 behind Teddy Bridgewater and Cassel.

So far, Ponder has been getting the first-team work ahead of McGloin, an eight-game starter as an undrafted rookie free agent. Del Rio was careful not to rule McGloin out of the mix as a potential backup.

“I think he’s done a good job. He’s a fiery competitor,” Del Rio said. “He’s done a good job attacking the offseason and preparing for what we do.”

—Oakland signed its seventh-round draft choice, cornerback Dexter McDonald.

The 242nd overall pick in this year’s draft out of Kansas, McDonald played one season at Butler (Kan.) Community College and three seasons for the Jayhawks, making 24 starts. As a senior, he had two interceptions, 28 solo tackles and 13 passes defensed.

The Raiders now have eight of their 10 draft picks under contract.

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