New quarterback Derek Carr had a familiar helping hand this past week — former Raiders coach Jon Gruden — as the New Orleans Saints installed their offense during offseason workouts.
The Saints brought in Gruden to help Carr and the offensive coaching staff under coach Dennis Allen, NOLA.com reported Friday.
A second-round draft pick by the Raiders in 2014, Carr spent his career in the silver and black until his release after the 2022 season. He signed a four-year, $150 million contract with the Saints in March.
With the Raiders, Carr ran the West Coast offense installed by Gruden during the latter’s tenure as coach from 2018 through the first five games of the 2021 season. The offense is similar to the one the Saints employ.
The Saints’ version of the West Coast offense is an offshoot of the one former coach Sean Payton used during his 15 seasons as head coach in New Orleans. And it had its roots with Gruden — Payton and Gruden coached together in 1997 with the Philadelphia Eagles, where Gruden was the offensive coordinator and Payton the quarterbacks coach.
“It’s a new system, new words, [but] a lot of similarities to things that I grew up on and believe in,” Carr told NOLA.com. “It’s still a learning curve, but not as big of a curve as it could be in a different system or a different offense.”
The Saints signed Carr because of his familiarity with the scheme.
“He’s a great fit for us,” Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael told NOLA.com of Carr. “We’ll cater to things that he likes as long as it fits with our personnel. The majority of what we’ve done [in New Orleans], he’s had some of that over his career. There’s a lot of similarities.”
To continue the migration from Las Vegas, the Saints also signed two former Raiders in free agency — wide receiver Bryan Edwards and tight end Foster Moreau.
NOLA.com and Reuters contributed to this report.