Football's back. The Raiders 2014 season preparation got underway today in Napa as they took the practice field for the first time.
It was not a friendly welcome by the Napa weather today unless you are a fan of near triple digit temperatures.
This year, with the shortened camp, the fans were on hand from the start. They lined the bleachers getting their first glimpse of the new Raiders. By late in the afternoon, there wasn't much shade to be had so there were some baked Raiders fans. And I mean from heat not smoke.
Antonio Smith was practicing for the first time since he was acquired last March. He missed all of OTA's and minicamp with an injury he sustained while working out.
All players who weren't on the PUP or NFI list were practicing. Though that list is pretty long. See that list here.
The Raiders were in helmets and shells and were at half speed for most of practice. But there was a couple of lively team sessions.
Greg Little had his career in microcosm. He had some nice catches and then dropped a pass right on his hands. His drop rate was fourth worst in the NFL last season and it frustrated the Browns enough they finally cut ties with him.
David Ausberry also had an on-target drop of a Matt McGloin pass on a crossing route.
The catch of the day comes from Rod Streater who tracked a long touchdown pass from Matt Schaub and pulled in a fingertip grab over his shoulder with Tarell Brown in coverage.
Brice Butler and had a great day catching the ball. He dug out a low pass from Schaub and then later reached up to pluck a Derek Carr pass on a rope on a post pattern.
Schaub was off-target much of the day. He had the low pass to Butler followed by a wide incompletion to James Jones and then threw out of reach for Marcel Reece along the sideline.
The pass of the day is a toss-up between the Carr pass to to Butler which was an in-stride laser and a pass from McGloin that he stuck right in the chest of Jamize Olawale on a tight slant. The McGloin pass was much like most of his game - not flashy but a strong, efficient throw. Good, solid catch too by Olawale.
The defensive play of the day came from Neiko Thorpe who shadowed Greg Jenkins to intercept a Matt Schaub pass up the right sideline.
Taiwan Jones had a pass defended on a pass intended for Denarius Moore from McGloin. It was well-played by Jones but Moore had to slow up to get to the pass. If the pass had been longer, Jones would likely not have gotten to it.
Not much can be judged from linebackers and linemen just yet. Not until pads go on. That will happen on Sunday.