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Around the NFL - Young Quarterbacks Edition: Raiders Derek Carr & Bucs Jameis Winston
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20 Jul 2015 03:18 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Derek Carr was the 36th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. (Image Source: Patric Schneider/Associated Press)

We take you around the NFL:

— Camp Carr in Bakersfield

Entering his second season, Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is getting ready by working out with several of the team’s pass catchers. Unable to participate in most of Oakland’s offseason program, Carr organized his own minicamp as a “great refresher” prior to training camp.

“The offseason is when you really become a team,” Carr told CSN Bay. “The more you can get together at someone’s house, or even out here in Bakersfield, shows the commitment everyone has to turning things around.”

It took place last Thursday and Friday at the Carr Elite training facility in Bakersfield, California. Older brother David Carr was also on hand. First-round pick Amari Cooper did not attend, but Michael Crabtree, Mychal Rivera, Brice Butler, Rod Streater, Seth Roberts, Josh Harper, Kenbrell Thompkins and Andre Holmes were all there to build rapport with their quarterback.

“It was a great refresher for everyone, and the timing couldn’t have been better,” Carr said. “It was two weeks before camp and just far enough away from the last minicamp for guys to find it useful. It was a refresher course that should really help the start of training camp itself. This way, the mistakes won’t happen on day No. 1. We already fixed that stuff.”

As a rookie, Carr showed flashes of brilliance and he improved as the season went on (7 TDs, 1 INT in December). While Cooper was not on hand, the two have already worked out privately this offseason.

—  Virtual Reality in Tampa

Offseason passing camps organized by quarterbacks is nothing new in the NFL. It’s old school. Across the country, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are stepping into the future to help their young quarterback, Jameis Winston.

Fresh off drafting Winston with the No. 1 overall pick, the Bucs are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to doing everything they can to ensure the former Heisman Trophy winner succeeds. On Monday, the team announced that they would be using a virtual realty system developed by EON Sports VR on August 1, when training camp begins. The software is called the Sidekiq football-simulator.

"We are excited to be coming in on the front end of this new wave of technology that is designed to supplement the on-field and classroom work that our quarterbacks are already doing," general manager Jason Licht said (per "Obviously, there is no real substitute for being on the field when it comes to getting our players ready for game action. However, this virtual-reality technology allows us to enhance the learning experience for our quarterbacks without requiring them to put in additional time on the practice fields."

What the system does is allow users to simulate a game with the same viewpoint they would have during a game or practice using computer graphics.

"Virtual reality has become very popular in high school and college programs, and there has recently been much more interest in the technology from professional sports teams looking to add to their teaching tools while limiting exposure to injuries that may occur in live-action situations," EON Sports VR CEO Brendan Reilly said. "We are excited to get to work with the Buccaneers and provide their quarterbacks with the opportunity to train more efficiently than ever before."

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email:

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