Derek Carr’s on-again, off-again relationship with the injury report is off this week for the New Orleans Saints quarterback.
Carr, who worked through a concussion, injured shoulder and banged up ribs last week, was not on Wednesday’s injury report for the Saints (6-7), who will play the Giants (5-8) on Sunday in the Caesars Superdome.
"There was no re-aggravation, so that was nice," he said. "First time in a minute I didn't land on the shoulder, the ribs. So that was good. I feel better this week than I did this time last week. But sore, like everybody else."
Carr has been dinged up for much of the season, beginning with spraining the AC joint in his right shoulder in Week 3 against Green Bay, spanning to a concussion and shoulder re-injury against Minnesota in Week 10, and concluding most recently with the concussion/back/shoulder trifecta against Detroit in Week 13. The Saints beat Carolina 28-6 in Week 14, with Carr completing 18 of 26 passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns, with an interception.
"If I can be out there, I'm going to do my best to be out there for my team," he said. "I made a promise, that if I can be out there, I'm going to do everything that I can. I was taught a long time ago by a coach that, if you can be out there for your team – especially at quarterback – it says a lot for your teammates and for the coaches.
"I even had a few coaches come up to me from the defensive side of the ball, a couple of defensive players this morning at breakfast, like, 'Hey man, I appreciate that.' Maybe I wasn't at my best, but that kind of respect goes a long way in building unity and building a team. I don't think anyone is at their best right now. It's late in the year, but I just tried to be out there for my guys."
Whatever bumps, bruises, sprains, concussions and rib injuries Carr has sustained, what he has managed to do is to be available for his teammates.
"It's been frustrating for me. It has," he said. "It's been very frustrating. Every week is something different, you're dealing with something, but I learned a long time ago that at the end of the day, nobody cares. You've got to do your best.
"You're going to have to answer tough questions when those happen because of those things and you're going to have to deal with stuff, but you do your best to be out there for your teammates at practice, and do your best to be out there at the games and give it your best shot. I've been trying to do that all year."
Doing that hasn't exempted Carr from criticism, including boos from some among the home crowd. But he said he understands that goes along with the territory of starting at quarterback in the NFL.
"I do understand that their expectations are our expectations," he said. "So their frustration – that's the way they can show their frustration. My frustration, we show it in our way. So, all of our expectations were so high, and our expectations still should be high.
"Everything is still in front of us. I keep staying this – this is the time to do it. This is the time to get hot, right now. I was on a team (in 2021 with the Raiders, who finished 10-7) where this was when we got hot, and that was a great time in our stadium. There was great energy in the city. And we want to do that for our city.
"I absolutely love this place, and I just want to win here. I just want to win here, because I know what it feels like. Hopefully, getting the one last week, continue that and keep the energy going all the way throughout the rest of the season."
Carr said he's a people pleaser, and had to learn that not everyone always will be pleased, or can be pleased.
"No matter how excellent you're trying to do your job, no matter how good you try and be in life, all those things, I learned real quick there's still going to be people that don't like you or don't care, and all that kind of stuff," he said. "And that was – when I was a young player – an awakening for me. Like, dang, I'm trying to do everything right. I'm trying to do everything and be a good role model for the kids and all these kinds of things.
"You learn real quick that that just is what it is. It's not that you get hardened, you just know. You know to expect it. It's not going to be positive all the time, but it sure was at the end of that (last) game and hopefully we can keep doing that for our fans, so that we can have some more good moments."