Each Wednesday we'll bring you a Q&A with a Ravens player to help you learn a little more about the team. Today's guest is cornerback Chris Carr, who's started all four of the Ravens' games this season and compiled 17 tackles, talks about the improvement of the secondary, his reasons for signing with the Ravens and the rise of his former college team, Boise State, in the national rankings.
Question: Given the absence of Ed Reed, how much has the secondary improved since last season?
Answer: Regardless of what everybody said, we felt that we had a lot of talent. We felt that if we got a little better and we communicate and we're on the same page, we're going to play well. We kind of took off where we finished last season and just improved a little bit. We all get along, we're all very good friends and when you have that chemistry, it's easy to talk about defenses and it's easy to tell somebody what to do. I think that's been the key to our success so far.
Q: As far as the chemistry goes, do the guys in the secondary hang out off the field as well?
A: Most of the time right now is work; there's not a lot of play. But we truly enjoy being around each other. We'll be at practice and have between time, and we'll talk about regular everyday stuff. That means a lot. I've been on secondaries where you might be walking on eggshells with one player, or one player doesn't get along with someone else. Everybody here is so friendly and so cool with one another that it makes things easier. As a secondary where communication is so vital, and improvement is so vital and all those different variables, when you get along and truly care about one another, I think it's the best thing a secondary can have. This is the best secondary when it comes to that that I've ever played on.
Q: You've played on three teams in your six-year career. Is there a part of you that wants to settle down and make a place like Baltimore the place where you end playing?
A: From Day 1, from the outside looking in, the Baltimore Ravens were always that team. If you play defense, you want to play for the Ravens. From Rex Ryan being here, playing with somebody like Ed Reed or Ray Lewis, that was one of my dreams when I came into the league. Playing in Oakland was kind of a dismal situation, I always felt like I wanted to leave. Tennessee was a great situation, but I just felt that Baltimore was kind of that ideal team. This is the place I want to be, definitely, and stay here for the rest of my career.
Q: How much did playing for secondary coach Chuck Pagano in Oakland play into your decision to come to Baltimore?
A: That definitely was a reason, too. He told me that I'd like it and I was comfortable with Chuck in Oakland. I knew how good of a coach he was. I already had Fabian (Washington) here. He was one of my good friends. I saw that would be a comfortable situation and I knew that we could win a lot of ballgames. It's one of those things when you're deciding where to go, you might be offered more money somewhere else, if you can play in a place where you're comfortable and you know you're going to play well, down the line you'll probably get paid more money than if you go strictly for the money. You might play a year and not play well. It was hard leaving Tennessee, but with Chuck and Fabian being here, and with the Ravens playing well, there was no way I wasn't coming here.
Q: Though most fans might not look at it as a sacrifice given the money you make, but has moving around affected you at all?
A: It's tough, especially for my wife. You come to a new team, it's kind of like a frat house. You come in and there's a lot of guys and you're going to have instant friends there. But when you move your family around, they're in a new place, new people and they don't know anybody. It's extremely difficult on them.
Q: Having played at Boise State, do you feel like you helped lay the foundation for the success the team is now having?
A: Guys like Quintin Mikell, the Pro Bowl safety for the Eagles and Daryn Colledge, the offensive lineman for the Green Bay Packers, a lot of guys came in there and they had some good recruiting classes and we took off. To see where Boise State has come from my freshman year to being ranked the past three years and just see it snowball and see where it is today is just something really special. No other college has done what Boise State has done from junior college to D-1. It's special.
Q: Do you think they should play in the BCS championship game if they go undefeated?
A: I definitely think they should. But they'll get that respect, too. They're ranked No. 3 right now and I think people will give them what they deserve.
Q: Being from the West Coast, which team did you grow up rooting for as a kid and did you ever think you'd be playing in the NFL someday?
A: I was mostly a basketball fan, but I liked the 49ers — Jerry Rice, Steve Young and Joe Montana were my favorites. I was a Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan fan. I almost played Division I basketball at the University of Portland. My senior year UC Santa Barbara, UTEP (Texas El Paso) and Portland recruited me. My best friend got offered to the University of Portland. I verbally committed before my senior year started. They called me up after I committed and they said that their point guard dropped out of school and they got a guy from Australia. After that, it was like, 'I'll play football.' It was one of the more fortunate things that ever happened to me. At my best friend's wedding, Adam Quick, the guy from Australia, was there and I told him 'Thank you, if it wasn't for you I wouldn't be in the NFL right now.'
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