The first day of Raiders 2015 training camp is in the books. The team pulled out all the stops as far as guests in attendance. There was a host of Raiders legends including Jim Plunkett, George Atkinson, Daryle Lamonica, Raymond Chester, Jon Ritchie, and Lincoln Kennedy.
Also on hand were members of several armed forces including the Marines, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Navy. Joining them were military families from the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (T.A.P.S.), Gold Star Families as well as veterans and military support personnel from the USS Hornet, United Service Organization Bay Area and Operation: Care and Comfort.
Injuries: The other day the Raiders placed Sio Moore on the Physically Unable to Perform list as he is still recovering from offseason hip surgery. Today they placed Rod Streater and Trent Richardson on the Non-Football Injury list and put Trindon Holliday and Stacy McGee on the Physically Unable to Perform list. No details were given about their injuries, though Jack Del Rio said he expects them to be back soon.
Also not practicing was rookie Clive Walford with an undisclosed injury. He had practiced in the pre-camp warmup with the other rookies and didn't appear to have any serious injury.
Khalil Mack was everywhere in drills and mostly with the defensive linemen. He was almost exclusively working with the defensive line in drills, actually. He ran a few plays with the linebackers in coverage drills and then was sent back over to work with the defensive line again. It's becoming increasingly clear that he will be almost exclusively lining up with his hand in the dirt.
After lining up as a right guard through OTA's and minicamp, rookie Jon Feliciano was lining up with the second team at left guard today. He was replaced as second team right guard by Matt McCants.
Derek Carr was dealing on day one of camp. Technically, this isn't day one for him since he and the other quarterbacks were part of the precamp warmup last week, but he looked impressive none the less.
He and Crabtree looked like they had done a mind meld today with the two hooking up numerous times. First completion he threw went to Crabtree on a 15-yard out that Carr timed well and hit Crabtree in stride.
"Whatever the route is, for some reason, it's just easy to throw to him and that's a credit to his route-running abilities," Carr said of Crabtree. "That's a credit to the extra work that he puts in in the offseason. I mean, that guy works his tail off now. You can tell when he gets out here, because he makes it look so easy. He's making one-handed catches on go routes one foot off the ground like, ‘Oh, yeah, I do that every day,' which he does"
There is clearly a great chemistry already between these two. Much of it likely stems from their having worked throughout the offseason, including Crabtree joining some of his fellow receivers with Carr in his hometown of Bakersfield earlier this month.
"Just work. Building that chemistry," Crabtree said of his time with Carr. "Guys showing up, coming all the way from Dallas to Bakersfield and playing football. . . I went down there and hanged with those guys. He's truly a football player and I'd do anything for him."
The great first day Crabtree had didn't go unnoticed by his head coach.
"He stood out today and made some nice catches," Del Rio said of Crabtree. "Mike's a proven player. I don't think we have to worry much about Mike other than becoming a good teammate, getting in tip-top shape, and having a great year. So it was a nice beginning for us to be on time with some of the throws with the quarterbacks and the receivers. It was good to see."
Carr was also threading the needle to his tight ends all day. Both Lee Smith and Mychal Rivera were beneficiaries of tight Carr throws over the middle.
Catch of the day: Crabtree leaping grab from Carr
Crabtree went up the right sideline and leapt in the air to high-point the ball in double coverage, including very tight coverage from Keith McGill. Myself along with some of the other media were standing right there and I thought for sure I would have a better shot at it than Crabtree, but he plucked it out of the air. There was another great catch by Kenbrell Thompkins from Christian Ponder that was rather similar. He too leapt in the air in double coverage to pull down a ball just inbounds along the right sideline.
Premium rush: Khalil Mack sack
Late in practice, Mack came around the right edge of the offensive line, leaving Menelik Watson reaching for air as he was upon Derek Carr the moment he hit his drop back. If it had been a live game, Carr would have been demolished. Carr gushed about Mack following practice and put him in some lofty company. You can read more about Mack's day here, along with what Carr had to say about him.
Pick of the litter: Neiko Thorpe pass defended
There were no interceptions on day one. There were a couple passes defended, however. One in which Neiko Thorpe came flying over to the right sideline on a quick out and collided with Seth Roberts right as the ball got there and knock it out. Other passes defended came from Dexter McDonald on a Matt McGloin pass to Brice Butler and Ras-I Dowling on a Christian Ponder pass for Milton Williams III.
When the Raiders left minicamp it seemed like they were already primed for training camp. The question was if they could maintain it over the month. They didn't disappoint. The usual rust one would expect on the first day of camp didn't appear to be there. I suppose the pre-camp warm-up helped with that, along with the attitude the coaching staff is instilling in the players. I can't recall a better first practice of training camp. And it usually only gets more refined and heated from here.
Back at it tomorrow. Practice is at 10:20am. As usual, click the button below to keep up with me on Twitter for live updates.