Today was the first day in pads this camp for the Raiders. This is where the rubber hits the road and we really begin the drive toward the season. It’s the day the coaches have waited for so they can really start to evaluate their players. And the players can’t wait to begin to get more physical.
“I’ll tell you, the first day in pads is always really the most exciting,” said Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton Jr. “Everybody gets the pads back on. They get out of the shorts. A lot of times personalities change once you put the pads on. You start running into each other full speed. There’s a little bit of difference.”
“You see toughness. Toughness is a talent for us. The speed, the recognition, the game speeds up. All of a sudden you get hit in the mouth a few times. Can you remember the play? Things like that really are important in development.”
Sounds like Norton is referencing that Mike Tyson quote “Everyone’s got a plan until they get hit in the mouth.”
How these guys perform under pressure is pretty much everything. There is constant pressure on an NFL field. From everywhere. Both mentally and physically.
- Three days in and there are no changes to the injury report. PUP list is Gareon Conley, Jon Feliciano, and Jihad Ward. NFI list is Ben Heeney, Bruce Irvin, Cooper Helfet, and Mario Edwards Jr.
- Derek Carr took the field as the news came out that Fresno State will be retiring his jersey.
- Michael Crabtree had a good day. He made several nice catches on various routes and against all three of the Raiders’ top corners. First on Amerson, then Smith, then Carrie. The one with Carrie in coverage was on a post route from the right side that he took for a score.
- Seth Roberts made a couple nice plays as well. For the second straight day, he made a diving catch over the middle. Later he caught a ball out right and then turned it up the sideline. TJ Carrie reached out and yanked on Roberts’s hair, which didn’t sit well with him. He got in Carrie’s face and the two had words.
- After starting camp with a ball bouncing off his hands for an interception, he has quietly look very good. He and EJ Manuel hook up with the second team offense regularly. Today he beat Jelani Jenkins on a cross for a sizable gain.
- The coolest play of the day was courtesy of fullback Jamize Olawale. Cory James perfectly played it and looked to have the Derek Carr pass picked along the right sideline, but he didn’t get his hands around it and Olawale alertly took it away from him. For those unaware, Olawale is a converted wide receiver.
- The defense did make some plays, however.
- Marquel Lee continued work with the first team at inside linebacker. He made a couple nice looking solo stops on runs. One on Marshawn Lynch and the other on Jalen Richard.
- Reggie Nelson was playing the deep middle and swooped over the swat away a pass toward the back left corner of the end zone.
- Soon after, Sean Smith stayed with the speedy Johnny Holton up the left sideline to knock down a deep pass to the same area.
- In just his third practice with the vets since finishing up his school obligations, third round rookie Eddie Vanderdoes was working with the first team defense. Prior to today it was seventh round rookie Trevon Hester getting the first team work while Mario Edwards and Jihad Ward remain out with injuries.
- Immediately following practice we learned there would be no charges filed against Gareon Conley in for sexual assault. It’s a huge relief for everyone, not the least of whom being Conley himself. He remains injured so he isn’t expected back at practice, but now he can focus solely on getting back on the field. Reggie McKenzie answered questions afterward. You can see those here.