The second part of the Raiders offseason program starts on Tuesday when the team assembles for their voluntary minicamp. Due to the team having a new head coach, the players were able to start activities at the facility earlier this month. That was mostly physical fitness and injury rehab. Now's when they can take the practice field.
"It's the first day to get out there on the field with the staff and the players and we expect 100 percent participation and we'll get to work," head coach Jack Del Rio told Bay Area radio station, 95.7 The Game. "We'll begin. We've been two weeks now with just about everybody in attendance, working hard and getting themselves ready. The coaches can't go on the field during that phase. It's called Phase I and we're not allowed on the field with the guys."
As the team's new head coach, this will be the first real on-field instruction Del Rio and his staff have had with their new team, so it's a big step for everyone.
"Tomorrow we get on the grass. We get to roll the footballs out and begin to implement some of the schemes and actually interact with the players and the coaches on the field getting after it."
With some teams, there are veteran players and returning coaching staffs so having those players in voluntary minicamp may not be crucial. Not only is there a whole new staff, but there are very few established veteran players, certainly none who the team can do without even for a voluntary minicamp.
Last year Kevin Burnett was absent for the start of OTA's and though Dennis Allen didn't say so directly, it was clear he was not too pleased about it. Burnett was cut before training camp.
Even then, Burnett had started for one season with the Raiders and more than half the team had a new starter. Full participation is a great help for everyone to acclimate to each other, and in this case, to the new staff as well.