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Raiders' Jack Del Rio: 'Don't lose your quarterback'

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INDIANAPOLIS -- Jack Del Rio, fresh off signing a new contract with the Oakland Raiders, was asked Thursday morning at the NFL Scouting Combine what he learned from the 2016 season.

"Don't lose your quarterback," he said laughing.

The Raiders famously lost Derek Carr to a broken fibula in Week 16. With rookie Connor Cook at quarterback, Oakland fell in the wild-card round to a beatable Houston Texans team.

The coach said Thursday that Carr is on track for workouts later this offseason and will be full-go when the 2017 season kicks off.

"He's doing well. We still have a couple months before we crank it up," Del Rio said. "He's in good spirits. Everything I've seen and heard, he's on track or even ahead of schedule. We expect a complete recovery and no issues."

Del Rio was able to laugh about losing his quarterback last year but spent several moments discussing how his team needs to be able to overcome losing any player, even the quarterback.

"Regardless, if you lose your quarterback, to me there is still a way to get it done," he said. "It just became a lot harder but there is still a way. There was no concession and there never will be. Our approach is always: next man up and let's go compete.

"Honestly, [when] we finished the year, I was disappointed because in my opinion what we need to be about is 'hey let's rally, let's find a way and go get it done no matter what' and we weren't able to do that," Del Rio continued. "So, that'll be part of what we'll do this year is attack that and understand hey, there is not any one person that is more important than the team. Obviously, we want all our studs, we want all our good players, but if somebody's missing we have to fill in."

Del Rio said that while adding a veteran quarterback is a possibility, the team would like to continue to develop Cook as the backup to Carr.

The coach also added he "wouldn't close the door prematurely on anybody" returning when asked about impending free agents like Latavius Murray.

Entering his third season with the Raiders, Del Rio said the plan is to build on the foundation the team established with their playoff run and understand "we are just getting started."

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