Carolina Panthers

Carr comfortable with his throwing motion

Carolina quarterback David Carr releases a pass during practice. Despite what some call an awkward throwing motion, Carr stands behind his delivery.
Carolina quarterback David Carr releases a pass during practice. Despite what some call an awkward throwing motion, Carr stands behind his delivery.

SPARTANBURG -- David Carr throws funny.

But what makes him smile is nobody's worried about it.

Even though the Carolina Panthers' backup quarterback had the skills to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 draft, people have been obsessing about his arm motion since that spring.

Asked Wednesday how long people have been pestering him about his unique arm motion, Carr laughed.

"Let's see, when I was 12, I think," he joked.

Granted, his doubters have plenty of ammunition.

The ball comes out from somewhere around his ear more often than not, with a funky half-sidearm that's unexpected but very quick. That he wears black gloves to practice only draws attention to the chicken-wing delivery.

If you're one of those textbook readers, you'll never see him used as an example of how to make the ball go to a specific place.

"I've been in this league a long time now," Panthers coach John Fox said. "And there have been some guys that have been pretty good who have had funny throwing motions."

Fox went on to invoke Bernie Kosar, another of the classic "Kids, don't look" throwers.

"That's a hard position to evaluate, and it's not always the biggest and strongest arm that makes a good quarterback," Fox continued. "I still think he has an excellent future in this league."

Carr acknowledges his style looks unusual to others, but it seems perfectly natural to him.

"Whatever a traditional throw is, to me it feels like the way I throw out there," he said. "I've just done it my way for so long that's just what I do. I've attempted it, but it's rather uncomfortable."

He's asked if his sons got the gene, and he laughed and said they're more of the model folks are used to.

"It's funny. I'm actually the only one that throws the way I throw ... in the history of the world, apparently," Carr said.

Whatever his mechanical shortcomings, it was never enough to keep him from throwing for 4,308 yards and 42 touchdowns his senior year at Fresno State, or enough to keep Houston from using the first pick in franchise history on him.

Carr said his form really went under the microscope prior to the draft, when every flaw is dissected to the nth degree.

"They kind of pick you apart in the draft, and that's really where it started, just trying to find what's wrong," he said. "They just fixed and stuck on that, and the coaches felt they had to address it, and it kind of got out of hand. And not until this last minicamp and summer camp did I feel I was back to just throwing the football around -- which is kind of nice."

The 249 sacks he absorbed in five years have more to do with why he's a Panther than the way he throws. While several folks in Houston tried to fiddle with his style, Carr said one of the great reliefs of being in Charlotte is passing game coordinator Mike McCoy hasn't asked him to change.

"Other people are looking at it and closing one eye maybe, but it comes out pretty good, I think," Carr said. "I've never had a problem with it, honestly. It's really just been the last couple of years people have tried to work with it. I can't tell you how relieving it is that Mike just lets me go out and play ball.

"That's been the biggest thing, just to be able to take that deep breath."

That's also why he's with the Panthers, signing a two-year, $6.3 million contract to back up Jake Delhomme. After taking the beating he took behind patchwork offensive lines in Houston, he loves the protection he's getting.

And that Steve Smith guy he gets to throw to sometimes in practice also makes a difference.

While being the star (and cashing all the checks) was nice, there's something comfortable about being behind Delhomme that's given him a nice break.

Then again, maybe it's Delhomme has an unorthodox style. It might be best former offensive coordinator Dan Henning's gone, because the quarterback guru might have lost his mind watching them each day, specifically since perfect-technique Chris Weinke is no longer around.

Carr cracked up when it was mentioned Delhomme gets funny looks when he rolls out sometimes.

"We work together really well," Carr said. "We look like two guys who are just out of the freaking boat, just swinging out there. It's fun."

The subject's fine to joke with, but the Panthers are all too happy to have him. After Weinke failed to deliver with the playoffs on the line last December, they wanted to upgrade their insurance policy and they have.

"Sometimes it doesn't matter what it looks like if it gets there," Delhomme said. "And he does throw a little sidearm but he's very accurate and he throws a good ball. (San Diego's) Philip Rivers, he learned how to throw (that way), and this kid can play. (Carr) is a heck of a football player. Then you have some of the other ones who can drop back and boy, they look good. But they can't play dead.

"Can you get it done? That's the biggest thing. And he gets it done."

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