David Carr gives the Giants a sense of security without ever stepping on the field.
Carr didn't throw a regular season pass during the team's 2011 championship season. But he is a former overall No. 1 draft choice who has thrown 2,264 NFL passes and who gives the Giants a proven producer at quarterback should something happen to force Eli Manning off the field. The Giants today announced that Carr has re-signed to return as their backup quarterback in 2012.
In addition to his familiarity with the Giants' offensive system and not having to re-locate his family, Carr said his desire to return had as much to do with the team's locker room environment.
"I've said it before, these guys, you play ball in high school, you play ball in college and there's really not a better locker room that I've been in, and that's including those times," said Carr. "It's a great environment. Guys keep you humble. They keep it loose. No one takes themselves too seriously, and with all the egos and all the good football players, you'd think that would be a problem. But there's really not that issue in this locker room. That's why I like to be a part of it. It makes it very easy to come back."
Carr did not play in the Giants 16 regular season or four postseason games. But he is a valuable contributor in helping prepare the Giants' defense each week as the scout team quarterback. Carr is well-suited to that role, because he can impersonate both drop back and running quarterbacks with equal efficiency.
In 2011, Carr re-joined the Giants after spending a season with the San Francisco 49ers. He and incumbent Sage Rosenfels were competing for the backup job until Rosenfels was forced to go on injured reserve because of back problems. In the preseason, Carr completed 27 of 44 passes (61.4 percent) for 236 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Carr was Manning's backup quarterback in 2008 and '09. He played in three games the first season and in six games in 2009 and in those two seasons completed 33 of 42 passes (78.6 percent) for 340 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
"It's just natural for me," said Carr of the Giants' offense. "I feel really comfortable in it. I've run this for the majority of my career, partly with Chris Palmer who was here before, and now with (Kevin Gilbride and Manning) for my fourth year. So it's very familiar to me. I feel really comfortable here. I know that if given the opportunity and put in the position to play on this team, I would do well. That's also a comforting feeling knowing that if you get into the game, you're in there, first of all, with the world champions, so how can you go wrong? And secondly, to know that you're going to go out there and succeed is also a positive."
Carr was selected by the expansion Houston Texans with the first choice in the 2002 NFL Draft. He played five seasons in Houston and one with the Carolina Panthers before joining the Giants. In his 10-year career, Carr has completed 1,351 of 2,264 passes (59.7 percent) for 14,433 yards, 65 touchdowns and 71 interceptions. He has been sacked 266 times, including a record 76 as a rookie in 2002.
A month and a half removed from the season, Carr has had a chance to reflect on the Giants' Super Bowl XLVI championship.
"I think when we beat the Jets out here, and the spark when Victor [Cruz] made the catch and made that long run, when we won that football game, I was like, 'We could do this.' Then we beat Dallas. Honestly, when we got in the playoffs, I didn't think we were going to lose just because of the talent level that we have in this locker room. If we could get on the same page ever at some point during the season, I knew we'd be all right because honestly I haven't been around a team like this before – physically, mentally. It's a mentally tough football team. There are so many times we came from behind in the fourth quarter and pulled them out. It's just a pleasure to be around. I think it's one of the reasons I came back."