Derek Carr

Back-to-Back: Healed from similar injury, Carr and Mariota ready for shootout

Rebounds are more associated with the game of basketball. But, when it comes to the Raiders-Titans tilt in Week 1 this Sunday, the term couldn’t be more apt. Oakland’s and Tennessee’s respective quarterbacks are on the rebound. In an eerie Week 16 last season, both the Raiders’ Derek Carr and the Titans’ Marcus Mariota suffered a fractured fibula. Mariota’s ailment came a few hours before Carr’s and both fan bases were left stunned in silence.

Both team’s immediate and long-term future hinge on the franchise quarterbacks. They’re ready and primed to build upon impressive young resumes.

“They’re both good young players. I think that’s certainly part of the storyline this week,” said Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio. “(Mariota) had a tremendous career in college. That’s carried over. He’s a good football player. I think both teams go in with quarterbacks that were ironically hurt on the same day. They have both rebounded, had good offseasons. I think Derek (Carr) came back a little quicker, but they’re both back.”

The Titans’ third-year QB threw for 3,426 yards and had 26 touchdowns to go with nine interceptions. He added two more scores on the ground and finished with 349 yards rushing. In comparison, the Raiders’ fourth-year gunslinger fired for 3,937 yards, 28 TDs, 6 INTs and had 70 yards scrambling.

Both Carr and Mariota are eager and primed to build upon impressive young resumes. And both hold one another in high praise.

“He’s very poised, very accurate, very mobile, makes great decisions, especially in the red zone,” Carr said of his Titans counterpart. “Situational football, him being able to do that at such a young age, it’s only going to get easier for him as he gets older. As long as he doesn’t try and do too much. I wish him the best.”

Not surprisingly, Mariota waxed poetic of Carr.

“I think he’s a great player and I think that showed last season,” Mariota said of his Raiders counterpart. “I’ve played him a couple of times. I played him in college, so I’ve gotten to know him a little bit. Guy is a great competitor. Makes all the throws, makes it look easy. I think he’s one of the better throwers in our league.”

Two young quarterbacks who are going to spearhead the QB class for years to come in a potential shootout?

Now that’s what I call a Week 1 matchup.

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