OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Raiders insist it's not an audition, just a chance for rookie Derek Carr to get in some much-needed work.
Yet with starting quarterback Matt Schaub sitting out Thursday night's exhibition game against the Seattle Seahawks at O.co Coliseum with a sore right elbow, the Raiders quarterback of the future can speed up that process in front of a home fan base that is embracing his candidacy through social media.
"The more that I can be out there, the happier I'll be," Carr said. "That's why we work so hard in the offseason. That's why you spend so many hours here before anyone's here. That's why you do all those things, because you want to go out there and help the team win, and I'm looking forward to it."
It's the last chance for players on the bubble to secure a spot on the team, with rosters being cut from 75 to 53 players by Saturday at 1 p.m.
Coach Dennis Allen has made it clear Schaub is the starter assuming his elbow is better and he can get in the requisite practice time heading into the season opener Sept. 7 on the road against the New York Jets.
Carr, a second-round draft pick out of Fresno State, appears firmly entrenched as the backup even though second-year player Matt McGloin has put up the best preseason numbers, albeit against mostly third-team competition.
Having recovered from a concussion and a rib injury on Aug. 15 against the Detroit Lions, Carr likely will play well into the second half. He missed last week's 31-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers. For a series or two, at least, Carr will face a Seattle defense that was last seen dominating the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Both Allen and Seattle coach Pete Carroll will likely remove key starters very early in the game.
If Carr were to stand and deliver against the first-team Seattle defense, Schaub's uneven preseason play (two scores in 15 possessions) would at the very least shorten the leash on the presumptive starter when the regular season begins.
One thing Allen won't have to worry about is Carr making waves. Carr is playing the role of the eager backup with sincerity and a sense of team.
"I do everything selflessly," Carr said. "I do it for my teammates. I come out here and I work as hard as I can so I know when my number, if it has to be called, I'll be ready to help us win."
Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson acknowledged while Carr is in the first year of a new system and is still learning, he has a field presence that belies his rookie label.
"I've said it from Day 1, the guy's comfortable in the huddle," Olson said. "The game's not too big for him. "¦ I don't think the game's too fast for him, which a lot of times is a concern with a rookie quarterback."
(c)2014 The Oakland Tribune (Oakland, Calif.)
Visit The Oakland Tribune (Oakland, Calif.) at www.insidebayarea.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services