The Raiders returned to the training camp practice field today for the first time since their preseason opening win over the Rams Friday night. And what a day to hit the practice field. Practice began at around 90 degrees with 50% humidity and by the time they finished, the temp had reached into triple digits. The players were at least glad to not be in pads.
Injury updates: Rod Streater took to the field for the first time in this training camp, coming off the Non-Football Illness list. He commented on the heat after practicing saying he picked the hottest day to return. Also back on the field was tight end Lee Smith and safety Brandian Ross.
New absences today were Clive Walford and Josh Shirley. Walford had just returned last week and had two practices leading into the game last Friday. No word on if it was a re-aggravation of the injury that had him out the first nine camp practice. Andre Holmes was hurt in practice and left the field not to return. We'll keep on eye on his status.
Still out of practice are Sio Moore, Roy Helu Jr, and Jamize Olawale.
Practice began today just as the game did on Friday - with some AC/DC. That is Amari Cooper got behind Keith McGill up the right sideline and Carr threw a perfect pass for a big gain. The two must have wanted to instantly get the bad taste out of their mouths after the final play for both of them was a miscommunication resulting in an interception in the end zone.
Once that was out of the way, it was the Crabtree show. Carr's next pass went to Michael Crabtree, also with McGill in coverage. A bit later, Crabtree line up on the left and beat D.J. Hayden flat out up the left sideline and Carr launched it right to him for a touchdown. Then it was McGill's turn to get worked by Crabs. McGill thought he had good position, only to have Crabtree stick his foot in the ground and leap in front of him to catch it anyway for a long grab down the right sideline.
Getting some reps with Derek Carr was Brice Butler and Seth Roberts who were the team's top two receivers in their preseason game against the Rams. Also getting some first team reps was Neiko Thorpe across from them. It means the coach liked what he saw and wants to have a chance to evaluate them with better competition in practice.
Catch of the day: McGloin bomb to Willis
Crabtree may have stole the show overall, but it the best connection goes to these two. It was nothing fancy. Just a seam route the Austin Willis broke long and Matt McGloin launched a perfectly place pass as Willis got behind the entire Raiders defense for what looked to be an 80-yard touchdown. He's fast, that's for sure. A nod goes to Kenbrell Thompkins who laid out to catch a wide Ponder pass. Tough catch.
Pick of the litter: SaQwan Edwards
This mention is a long time coming, really. The undrafted corner out of New Mexico has played himself into some serious sleeper potential. Time and time again he can be seen knocking down passes in this training camp. On the final play of practice, he stayed step for step with Kenbrell Thompkins in tight coverage and knocked the Ponder pass down. The mere fact that lately he is consistently seeing second team action tells you how good of a camp he's been having considering his undrafted rookie status.
Gotta step up: George Atkinson III
In general, GA3 has not been impressive. Where he has been downright frustrating is as a receiver out of the backfield. He has had several drops in camp and had one in the game Friday night. He had another drop today. They're not hard catches either. Just routine dump passes that he can't handle. Usually those are concentration drops, which are considered fixable, but being that it just keeps happening, it is clearly not a simple fix for him.
There were no "premium rush" or "ground attack" categories today because when the players aren't in pads, it's hard to gauge blocking and pass protection. Also, with as hot as it was today, the Raiders cut practice short by about 20 minutes. They have practice off again tomorrow before returning on Tuesday. Then they will have three practices this week in preparation for their trip to Minnesota for their second preseason game next Saturday.