Derek Carr Races To Drew Brees-Like Debut For Saints, But Did One Better Than Ex-QB

Videos by OutKick

NEW ORLEANS – Quarterback Derek Carr looks a little like Drew Brees and talks like him. And in his New Orleans Saints’ preseason debut Sunday, he one upped him.

Before Brees’ Saints home debut in the 2006 season, he got lost on the way to the Superdome and arrived with only an hour or so to spare for a regular season game. All four Saints’ preseason games and the first two of the regular season were away as workers repaired the Superdome post Hurricane Katrina.

New Saints quarterback Derek Carr speaks after his debut for New Orleans Sunday at the Caesars Superdome. Carr completed 6 of 8 passes for 70 yards with a TD in Saints’ 26-24 win over Kansas City. (Photo By OutKick’s Glenn Guilbeau).

“They did tell me that story, and that’s why I specifically made sure I had someone to follow,” Carr said Sunday after his Saints’ debut following nine seasons with the Raiders. He started and completed a Brees-like 6 of 8 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown as the Saints beat Kansas City, 26-24, at the Caesars Superdome. Blake Grupe booted a 31-yard field goal at the buzzer for the win.

Former Saints quarterback Drew Brees visited with new quarterback Derek Carr at practice Friday. (Getty Images).

Saints’ Center Erik McCoy Led Carr To Superdome In His Car

Ever prepared, Carr made arrangements to follow center Erik McCoy from the team hotel to the Superdome before the game.

“Who better than your center? Oh yeah, like from the hotel, he waited for me,” Carr said. “I’m not going to say the street’s name, because I’ll screw it up. But he was down there, and I pulled out and I waved to him. He was like, ‘All right, c’mon,’ and I followed him all the way to my parking spot. There’s a first time for everybody.”

Carr arrived early and left early after his only series.

“Twelve plays, 80 yards and a TD is pretty good,” Saints coach Dennis Allen said. “The plan was 10 or 15 plays with the first group, give or take. He was in control, poised, threw to the open guy, the way you want your quarterback to run your offense. Did a good job stepping up in the pocket.”

Derek Carr Spread The Ball To 4 Saints

Carr threw to five receivers on the drive, completing passes to four – tight end Juwan Johnson twice for 29 for yards, running back Alvin Kamara twice for 21 and wide receiver Michael Thomas once for 16 and once to wide receiver Keith Kirkwood for 4 yards and a touchdown.


“It was a lot of fun. Love being on this side of things in the dome,” Carr said. “When I woke up this morning, everything was new to me. Where was the pre-game meal? I followed Erik McCoy in to park. I was like, ‘I don’t know where to go to park. Can I follow you?’ As soon as I got here, they were showing me where everything is in the locker room. ‘Where’s the shower? Where’s the snacks?’ So for me to get out there and operate, it was important to me to do that.”

Jameis Winston followed Carr and did well, too, completing 11 of 13 passes for 92 yards with a 29-yard touchdown for a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Rookie fourth round pick Jake Haener completed 10 of 17 for 105 yards with an interception.

Super Bowl champion MVP and NFL MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes of Kansas City made a brief appearance, completing 2 of 2 for 15 yards with a 5-yard run.

New Orleans Debut Important To Carr

For Carr, though, it was more than just a preseason game, something he had not played in since 2019 with the Raiders. It’s a new Carr, a new career.

“They all still feel good,” he said. “One drive, but it’s OK to get excited about it. It’s professional football.”

The dome got Derek Carr going.

“No anxiety. I was really excited when we turned left right here and started coming down,” he said. “The lights were off, and they started playing a little music. I was like, ‘Oh yeah, now it’s time.’ That got the juices flowing. It’s hard not getting excited coming out to that intro.”

His wife Heather, three sons and daughter surrounded Carr after the game.

It Feels Good To Be A New Orleans Saint

“For them, putting on Black & Gold for the first time was probably a little weird,” he said.

For Derek, too, in the locker room.

“When I put that uniform on and went in front of the mirror, Jake (Haener) walked up and said, ‘That looks weird,'” Carr said. “I said, ‘I know, bruh, I’ve been in the same place for nine years.’ But it may look weird, but it felt right. I told DA (Dennis Allen) that earlier this week. I just feel refreshed. I feel rejuvenated. And to put that uniform on and come out and be a Saint, it felt really good.”

His daughter Brooklyn Mae, a toddler and the youngest, has not made the transition yet, though.

“She was yelling, ‘Touchdown Raiders’ the other day,” Carr said. “We’ve got to fix that.”

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests.

A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention.

Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at, and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.


Leave a Reply
  1. I live in the central San Joaquin Valley, almost centered between Bakersfield and Fresno, where the Carr brothers grew up and came to fame.

    Personally, I believe David was the better QB, and much more suited for the NFL game. But he was literally broken in Houston due to horrendous offensive line play. It’s like a fighter getting ko’d 4 or 5 times in a row, and then wondering why he’s unable to perform at a high level.

    Derek on the other hand has been much more protected, both by his line and by pretty vanilla play calling. He’s like a less dynamic Alex Smith. Put him in the perfect situation and he’ll do his best not to lose, but he’s not trying to take risks to win.

    When the regular season begins, they’ll realize this in New Orleans. He’s always dumping it off, he can’t move outside of the pocket, and he’s not throwing it away if he’s going to take a hit, he’ll just fall down and accept the sack.

    Don’t believe the hype. DC is well past his prime, and didn’t win when he was in his prime. Winston isn’t doing any better. Saints would be smart to draft a QB with a 3 year development plan.

  2. Excellent points, but new scenery, a better offensive line, better skill talent around him and a better overall organization can make a huge difference for a QB like Derek Carr. Also, I remember San Diego people saying similar things about Drew Brees when he arrived in N.O. And Brees was not exactly tearing things up in San Diego.

Leave a Reply