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Quarterback Derek Carr sold on vision he sees for New Orleans Saints offense

'It was something that you watch from afar, you're like, 'Man, that'd be so fun to be a part of''

You'd have to do a deep dive through the New Orleans Saints locker room to find a player who's more excited than quarterback Derek Carr Definitely, you aren't likely to find one who says he's excited more often.

The transition to a new offense under coordinator Klint Kubiak appears to be a jolt of adrenaline for Carr, an 11-year veteran who's in his third offense in as many seasons.

Kubiak, who was offensive passing game specialist for the NFC-champion 49ers last season, and quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko, who spent the previous two seasons as quarterbacks coach for the Bears, have been preaching to a receptive congregant in Carr, who's coming off the second-best touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio (25 touchdowns, eight interceptions) and third-best completion percentage (68.4) in his career.

"At this point, I've had the opportunity to learn a lot of football," Carr said Tuesday, the first day of three OTA sessions for the Saints this week. "It's a blessing because you get to learn and gain knowledge and growth in so many areas. But this one, for me, with Klint and Janocko, has just felt good. It's just felt right.

"And for me, personally, it was something that you watch from afar, you're like, 'Man, that'd be so fun to be a part of.' I think just how we fit in to what we're going to be asked to do, I'm just excited about that. I'm sitting there watching the film getting excited, because like I said before, it's going to look different for our fans that have seen it a certain way for a long time. But I think it's good.

"Everything looks the same to the defense. Coaches do a great job making sure everything looks the same, and it's a lot of moving parts. Whoever started it and whoever has been coaching it, tip of the hat to them because they do a fantastic job of making things look alike. They could give you a playbook, but you don't know which one they're calling.

"And I think that that makes it really hard on the defense, and schematically for (defensive) coordinators. That part, to me, has been really impressive how everything looks the same. When the run game guy and the pass game guy are on the same page, and everyone is speaking the same. One voice, and it's one philosophy. That breeds confidence in us as players that they're going to put us in positions to pass the test."

Carr began early the process of learning the new offense.

"It's actually been a lot of fun," Janocko said. "We kind of got together right from the get-to, got to work. He's an unbelievable person, competitor, works hard. So we kind of jumped into it with both feet and hit the ground running. It's been a lot of fun so far, just putting it together, seeing the things that he likes, putting the player in the best position, executing Klint's plan (offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak) and playing fast.

"There's a lot of carryover from things he's done throughout his past, and then there's some new stuff that we've asked him to do that he's really embraced. It's been a lot of cool communication between him, myself, Klint, just to get everybody on the same page."

The "new stuff" has been a bit of training that flows from bottom to top. Carr, and all Saints quarterbacks, are being asked to listen with their feet.

"As far as getting back to training his feet in the way that we like within this offense," Janocko said. "Training his feet, training his progressions, understanding our nomenclature – the way we're going to call plays, the way we're going to call motions. That's all stuff that's just a continuous effort to get everybody together.

"The first thing is, we're going to have an open line of communication. We're going to trust each other. They're going to trust that we're going to put them in the best position and we're going to trust that they're going to execute at a high level.

"And then, we're going to listen to our feet. Our feet are everything; we're built from the ground up. And then, just decisive decision-making. Playing fast, being committed to what you decide and letting it rip."

Carr said the feet tell a quarterback everything.

"Not being late on certain things, staying true to your progressions and all those things," Carr said. "For us, footwork is a big deal. The details in this system are very important for the quarterback position, and how they see things and how they view things.

"This level of detail is exciting because when you're held to that standard, usually as a professional you play to that standard. So, I'm excited about these coaches because they hold us to it every single day."

Playing in a third different offense in three years – the Raiders in 2022, the Saints under offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael in 2023 and the Saints under Kubiak this season – has provided a bonding opportunity this year.

"The cool part about this time is we're all learning together," Carr said. "And there's something about going through it together. Like, last year I'm the guy learning everything new. I'm trying to play catch-up and everyone is helping me.

"But the cool part about this is we're all starting over. When you do something like that, the brotherhood and that unity gets even tighter. I think that's the exciting part for us, is that we're going through it together. We're making the mistakes, we're learning, we're doing it together. That brings more excitement, too."

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