It was first day in pads today, when the team gets their first best look at how their team will perform. That’s never more true than in the trenches, where the Raiders were without their biggest offseason addition. Kelechi Osemele was nowhere to be found.
It’s a bit early for a veteran day off, so one would assume it’s injury related, though per Jack Del Rio’s normal stance on injuries, mum’s the word.
Replacing Osemele as the first team left guard was last year’s fourth round pick, Jon Feliciano. He would play the position while also still getting reps as the backup center behind Rodney Hudson.
This offensive line has big expectations this season and Osemele is a major part of that. Probably the most crucial part. There is still a lot of time before the season starts, and for all we know he could be back tomorrow. But as important as he is, his absence will never be a small thing.
Injuries: Other than Osemele’s unknown status or injury, Greg Townsend Jr and Denico Autry remain on the PUP list. Both players were at practice today, doing light work on the side.
Connor Cook was not at practice attending the funeral for his former Michigan State teammate, punter Mike Sadler, who was tragically killed in car accident last week. Shilique Calhoun was also teammates with Sadler and was said to also be adversely affected by Sadler’s death.
You know you have a defensive head coach when the first day in pads, the defenders get to wear the white jerseys. The offense wore the white the first couple days. It used to be that the offense always wore white and the defense always wore black. In recent years the white jersey was earned. This time I think it’s probably just to be fair. The white jerseys are cooler in the hot Napa sun.
The best looking player today was probably Mychal Rivera. He had a few nice catches on the day. The first one he got behind Ben Heeney and had a lot of open field ahead of him to go for a long gain. The second one, he adjusted to a laser from Derek Carr that was wide left and still hauled it in for a short gain with Malcolm Smith in coverage.
Undrafted rookie Johnny Holton also had a couple surprising plays for big gains. SaQwan Edwards handed him off to Nate Allen up the right sideline and Matt McGloin nailed him for a long reception. Then Holton lined up in the slot, again with Edwards on him. This time Edwards stayed on him and Allen came over to help out. Horton put on a couple moves on Edwards to get open, then got behind Allen for another big gain. Holton had been pretty much invisible up to this point.
With pads, we could finally get some idea of the running backs. DeAndre Washington had a nice run that was supposed to go up the middle, but after a jam up, he bounced it off the left side and found some yards. Shortly thereafter Jalen Richard got a block from Austin Howard on the right side and he made a quick cut inside the block and shot through the gap for a good gain of his own.
The offensive line seemed to win the DL vs OL drills. Though there rookie Drew Iddings had at least one good rush, putting a bull rush on Jon Feliciano up the middle, driving him back to collapse the pocket.