Organized Team Activities are over and mandatory mini camps begin Tuesday. As the name suggests, these are no longer voluntary. Thus far it has only been a select few vets who have been absent from OTA's. But now everyone will be together for the first and last time until training camp at the end of July.
There has not been any hitting and the players have not worn pads, with the exception of a helmet. That won't change for mini camps. Real contact won't begin until a few days into training camp.
What we can expect is the Raiders defense to have improved since the start of OTA's. They have had the hardest time with their new duties. The new defense is a real change of pace for many of these players and for others it's just a completely new playbook with new schemes and alignments.
The defense showed some improvement last week and I expect that to continue. Granted, you can't judge a lot based on the fact that there is no real contact. But the defense can still disrupt the flow of the offense and I think we will see more of that this week.
There have been a few players who have stood out and a few that Dennis Allen has mentioned by name. Rookies Miles Burris, Juron Criner, and Rod Streater, chief among them. David Ausberry has also looked impressive. It will be interesting to see if they can continue their fine play.
The mini camp will take place of the next three days-- Tuesday June 12 thru Thursday June 14. Practice is from 11am to 1pm each day. I will be live tweeting during practice and you can follow me @LeviDamien.