The next time we see these Raiders, they will be in their game uniforms taking the field. For many players, it will be the first time they don a Raiders jersey. For some, it will be their first ever NFL jersey.
It was a bit of a light day for the Raiders. After practicing the previous two days in pads, they were in shells and helmets only.
As is usually the case with the first preseason game, the first team aka starters won’t be on the field long. Practice today rather like that, with most of the work going to the second and third team.
“We haven’t really settled on what we’re going to do with reps across the [board]. We don’t typically play the front line a great deal in the first game. We’ll see when we get there.”
Guys like Marshawn Lynch, Michael Crabtree, and Jared Cook spent almost the whole day watching. I’d say the same for guys like Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper if they weren’t out injured. Del Rio said Lynch is not playing much, if at all.
“I’m not that concerned about seeing a lot of Marshawn in Week 1 of the preseason,” said Del Rio. “I’ll just be honest with you on that.”
That could include Sean Smith who just in time was back working with the first team at corner. They still had him doing some work as what appears to be the same hybrid safety/linebacker position with the second team, but I don’t see them trotting out their $10 million corner like that in a real game.
What we saw instead was a good deal of first team wide receiver sets of KJ Brent, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Jaydon Mickens.
Derek Carr still threw with the first team some, but backups EJ Manuel and Connor Cook saw a lot more work. Especially Cook who needs the work and has just a game and a half of real NFL tape from which to judge him. But EJ Manuel also has to prove that he isn’t just a practice wonder. That he can perform as well as he has this camp when the pressure’s on.
“That’s a big part of it, how you function when you know that guys can really tee off on you,” said Del Rio of judging a quarterback in a game. “I think that’s certainly a part of it. Being able to absorb a load and get up is a part of it. We don’t want them doing that very often, but that is a part of it; getting back up and getting back in there. . . how they respond when it’s live action. That’s why this is such a valuable time for us in our evaluation and this is the first opportunity to do it in that setting.”
Manuel has held down the second team quarterback spot all camp since earning in in offseason practices. All indications are that he is on track to be Derek Carr’s primary backup, but if for some reason Cook is able to instill more confidence in the coaches in live game action, that would be the only way that could change.
Reserve center Jon Feliciano made his first appearance on the practice field today, coming off the PUP.
Not practicing for the first time was fullback Jamize Olawale.
Still out injured are: Amari Cooper, Khalil Mack, Obi Melifonwu, Keith McGill, Gareon Conley (who is now saying he does NOT have shin splints), Jihad Ward, Ben Heeney, Cooper Helfet, and Donald Penn (contract holdout).
Catch of the day: Hatcher went deep, getting Breon Borders turned around. EJ Manuel put the ball up and, even with Borders in tight coverage, leapt in the air to pull down the pass.
Follow up: Cordarrelle Patterson attempted a similar catch on a ball thrown from Connor Cook with Antonio Hamilton in tight coverage, but Patterson couldn’t pull it in.
Defensive play of the day: Uhh... no pads limits the defensive plays that can be made. Chris Humes had a near pick, but that was more due a really late read by Connor Cook. Humes had the jump and it probably should’ve been a pick 6.
Gareon Conley wasn’t practicing, but he sure made news. He needs to Ssshhh.