Nearly a month after arriving at the Napa Marriott, the Raiders have now wrapped up their 2012 training camp. No sooner did practice end but the place was gutted. The players got in and out of the clubhouse quickly and headed for the bus headed back to Alameda or to their cars to head for home.
It was the first training camp for Dennis Allen as a head coach. There were 19 practices in total with countless meetings and workout sessions as well as two preseason games.
"I enjoyed it." Said Allen. "I think we have a great situation here in Napa. This is as far as the setup is the best training camp I've ever been a part of from that standpoint. The weather's been great, the hotel has been outstanding. That's been good. I think our work has been good. I was pleased with what we did here in training camp."
The consensus among the players and coaches is that the rookie show Wednesday night was great. Dennis Allen said "Best I've been a part of." Tommy Kelly said "They all did a good job. Players and coaches. Coach made the rookie coaches do it too. They did an excellent job." Richard Seymour said it was "The best show since I've been here." No one gave any details or said who they thought was best.
The next time we see the Raiders will be in their third preseason game on Saturday against the Detroit Lions. After that, the team will officially be in regular season mode including all practices taking place at their Alameda practice facility. The staff will also be able to get back to their offices there.
For now, it's yet another training camp under their belts. It was a hard but critical work to prepare for the season. The feeling around camp is a lot different than it was in previous seasons. Tommy Kelly was asked what has changed.
"A lot. Long. Grueling, but fair." Said Kelly. "It's been tough, probably the hardest camp I ever did, but I'm in good shape, so I don't have no complaints.
"It is different. Everything is detailed. Everything's got a plan to it. It ain't just, wait a minute and we'll find out. You know everything. You know what you've got to do, down the second."
Richard Seymour chimed in on the camp experience.
"If you want to be a good football team there's got to be attention to detail," said Seymour. "The coaching staff, they've made it fun, but I always use analogy so I kind of relay it back to the safety belt. It's one of the things that you need, you might not always want to do it, but it's one of the things that you have to do if you want to be safe in a car or take care of business and at the end of the day winning football games."
"I thought we had a really good camp. I'm excited about where we're headed as a team. We had some good work. We bonded well. I think there's a better understanding in terms of where we're headed in terms of the season. I thought it was a great sequential progression from the OTAs on now into training camp. I look at training camp as one of the necessary evils. It's one of those things you have to go through, but at the end of the day you'll be better for it."
"We got a lot of good work done." Said Mike Mitchell. "I like to only talk about defense because that's what I play. This is the best that we've been this early in the year as far as having less confusion, things of that nature. We pretty much got a sound scheme."
The Raiders coaches must also feel pretty good about their defense because they added just one player all of camp-Korey Bosworth. He came in to replace Mario Kurn who was placed on injured reserve with a torn ACL. They worked out DE/OLB Andre Carter but have not signed him. Reports say he is not looking too good.
After the preseason game, the Raiders will have 15 fewer players on their roster. In turn there will be 465 other players cut and the Raiders will hope to find something valuable among those players.