For the first time since week 13 of last season, Raiders linebacker Sio Moore took the field healthy today. He suffered a hip injury that week and after giving it a go in week 14 against the 49ers, he was sat down the rest of the season before getting hip surgery once the season ended.
Given the maximum amount of recovery time from what was deemed to be a major surgery, he was back on the field in a limited capacity at the team's minicamps in June, which seemed to be somewhat ahead of schedule.
After that, the hope was that he would be ready to go to begin training camp, but a couple days before it began, he was placed on the PUP list.
Following the first day, head coach Jack Del Rio was not saying when he thought Moore might return, saying only "We'll see", which didn't sound very promising.
It turns out it was plenty promising because come day two, Moore was off the PUP list and on the field practicing with his teammates.
"Feel like I've always been getting ready. The whole year," said Moore. "That's what I focus on. Preparing mentally, physically, emotionally. It's just a long road and you've got to be ready for it. It don't matter what comes with it."
Thus begins Sio's opportunity to show his new coaches what he deserves to remain a starter on this defense. Jack Del Rio is not handing jobs to anyone.
"We need to find out what he can bring," said Del Rio. "I haven't really seen him full tilt, but he is active now, he has joined the team now in a full go capacity and so I'll get to learn more about him, so we'll learn more as we go. We need all of our players to grow and improve and to become great teammates and he's no different."
For those who are more familiar with Sio's personality as well as his play on the field, they know he has a lot of room to ‘grow and improve'. That is to say, grow as a person and improve as a tackler.
While he had a lot of fine moments the past two seasons, he also had a lot of moments where discipline was an issue. When addressing questions about Moore, Del Rio keyed upon the overall need for the linebackers to tackle better, which is something Sio struggled with a bit last season, with 17 missed tackles which was fifth most in the league last season among outside linebackers.
"We've got a new system to learn so make sure that you understand where you belong and arrive with an attitude," Said Del Rio. "So, that's what we're looking for from our linebackers and he'll get an opportunity to compete and show us what he's about starting today and as he works through camp now."
As for his attitude, Sio has made a concerted effort to prove he is more serious about his craft. He has deleted his social media accounts and in speaking with the media, he keeps his answers short.
The only time he opened up at all when speaking today was when speaking about his new coaches and how their energy and attitude fit with him.
"Yeah, man," he responded. "We got how many linebackers as coaches right now? Our position coach was a linebacker, our D coordinator was a linebacker, our head coach was a linebacker. That's all fire. So, everybody understands everybody. We play hardnosed ball, play with a lot of energy. That's how you lead. You lead with action and energy."
He even went as far as to say he likes that Jack Del Rio wore number 55 in his pro career just like him.
"For me I like it because he wore the nickels too (55). I like guys that wear nickels. It gives you something to work towards and work hard for. Leaders wear nickels."
Being a leader of this team is a good goal for Sio. It starts with leading by example on and off the field. That started today.