The Raiders offseason practices are done. The next time we see these players will be training camp at the end of July. But as they head to their six week break, Jack Del Rio had a message.
"The message for these guys is be smart, make good choices, remember how important it is what we do. It is a privilege to play in this league and to play for the Raiders so make sure you're representing us right out there. And do the right things and come back ready to compete. Come back in and be ready to come together as a team and prepare for the upcoming season."
Minicamp has had a very training camp feel to it. The three days seemed very similar to the first three days of training camp in how it played out with drills and seven on seven and team sessions. It's clear Del Rio wants to see the players return form the break not missing a beat. That will require they keep themselves in shape both mentally and physically.
"Come training camp will be really a continuation of what we've done. It will be to build on where we leave off today. We don't want to start over in training camp. We want to pick up where we're leaving off here which means guys will need to be diligent during this that we have away from each other."
It was a short practice today, an hour as opposed to two, so everything moved faster and was more condensed. Here are my notes from the day.
Not practicing at all today were Sio Moore, Nate Allen, and George Atkinson III. Sio was practicing on a limited basis the previous days and appeared to have come up gingerly while attempting a run stop. He was taken out then and his absence today was not unexpected.
Nate Allen has been out the past two days. Jack Del Rio wouldn't comment on the severity of the injury or whether he thinks Allen will be available for training camp. In Allen's absence, Brandian Ross took his place with the first team defense.
The passing game still wasn't all that sharp. Neither was the receiving game. Derek Carr had a couple good passes on crossing routes - one short to Rod Streater from right to left and another longer pass to Michael Crabtree. The Crabtree pass was his best on the day.
Other than that, there wasn't much good news. Ponder was no better. His first pass was behind Clive Walford incomplete and his next one was out in front of Mychal Rivera incomplete.
The drops continued for Amari Cooper. He had two drops today. One over the middle and one long down the right sideline. Both clanked off his hands. That is five drops this minicamp by my count. Very out of character for him.
The one change along the offensive line I saw was yet another player in at right guard. Matt McCants was in with the second team at right guard. He has played there before, though he has been a reserve tackle for the most part over his two seasons with the team. Others to see a lot of work at right guard this offseason have included J'Marcus Webb, Jon Felciano, and Khalif Barnes.
As for the defense, the most noteworthy thing was Khalil Mack lining up almost exclusively at defensive end. I noticed him there on day two as well. I had previously seen him playing his typical strongside linebacker spot. He claims his role will not change this year, though his coaches have been very clear they would like to see him get more sacks.
For the second straight practice, the biggest defensive play was a late interception on Derek Carr. This time it was Justin Tuck who reached up and grabbed a Carr pass at the line. As a point on reference, Carr was tied for the second most batted passes last season with 16.
Looking quite good in coverage Malcolm Smith. He had a pass defended on Wednesday from Carr and had another today. Yesterday he was covering Clive Walford. Today he was just in space, watching Carr's eyes and reacting.
And there you have it. Next practice wrap in six weeks.