So who better to compare and contrast Carr and Rodgers than a guy who spent the past 10 years with Rodgers and who, oh yeah, is essentially replacing Crabtree with the Oakland Raiders?
Especially since Carr met Jordy Nelson at the airport last week when Nelson arrived for his free-agent visit.
“He told me they gave him my number earlier, but he was like, ‘I wasn’t going to text you and add to the flood of text messages coming in. ... If you come into town, I’ll meet up with you.’ So he did," said Nelson.
“We spent pretty much the whole day together. In the building here. He was the one who drove me around some of the area. I was actually about to meet his wife and two boys. Get a feel for the area and obviously a feel for him. I knew a lot about him from James Jones, who played here, and Davante Adams, who he played with him at Fresno State. I knew a lot about him before I even came out here. It was great to get to know him a little bit more. I think it’s a great fit to be with him for the next couple of years.”
With Rodgers throwing him the ball, Nelson authored three seasons with at least 1,250 receiving yards and at least 13 touchdown catches. Only Hall of Famers Jerry Rice, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens have had more, with six, five and four, respectively.
Yet, Nelson is coming off a subpar season in which he had just 53 catches for 482 yards and six touchdowns, albeit, with Rodgers limited to just seven games by injury.
So can Carr, known in some circles as a mini-Rodgers, jump-start “White Lightning?”
Be careful who you ask. Former Oakland defensive backs coach Rod Woodson (yes, the Hall of Fame player) skewered the notion.
“I don't want to sound like a scorned lover because I was fired by the Raiders,” Woodson said recently on Fox Sports. “I love Mark Davis; I love the Davis family. But you can't tell me, you got rid of Michael Crabtree and you put Jordy Nelson in there and Jordy Nelson is better than Michael Crabtree? That’s a lie. And, I love Derek Carr; Derek Carr is not Aaron Rodgers.”
“Crabtree, he was the glue to that offense,” Woodson continued. “He gave them a backbone. He gave them toughness. Jordy Nelson’s not going to give them that. Derek Carr’s not going to give them that.”
Perhaps coach Jon Gruden’s plan is that Nelson and Carr can jump-start each other and that Crabtree's release will serve as addition by subtraction, given the tumult that surrounded him at the end of last season.
And what about Nelson’s thoughts on Carr and how he is compared to Rodgers?
“Definitely unfair right now,” Nelson said. “I haven’t even caught a ball from Derek yet. ... I have heard that, and most likely I’m going to stay away from the comparison because I don’t think that’s fair to either one of them.
“What Aaron has accomplished in this league is second to none, pretty much, the way he performs day in and day out. I’m sure Derek is more than welcoming that challenge to be that good for that long. There’s no reason to put that on him as well.”
The comparisons, though, will endure, until they don’t.
“Guys are going to be their own self,” Nelson said. “I look forward to seeing how he plays. I think that a lot of it could just be the demeanor on the field, the throws they can make and stuff like that. That’ll be something that’ll be a wait-and-see game for me and we’ll go from there.”