Raiders 2017 training camp is a wrap. Several players on the team didn’t miss a single day. But if you’d have asked me before camp started if Marshawn Lynch would be one of them, I would have said probably not. And I would’ve been wrong.
Not because I thought he would be injured or get lazy or any such thing. Just because he’s a veteran who hasn’t played a down of football in nearly two years. I would’ve thought he would have at least gotten one of those veteran days off. Nope.
“It feels pretty good to go through camp and put another under my belt,” Lynch said following practice Thursday.
“My body is feeling pretty good, considering I was off for that time. It’s straight.”
The team eased Lynch back into things over the offseason. It wasn’t until mandatory minicamps that he was at full participation. Even still, he didn’t miss a day. And that continued throughout training camp.
For Lynch, it was more about being with a new team and making sure he was up to speed mentally, and getting back in the routine of being an NFL player.
“To be honest,” he said, “I would say just getting my mentality back to waking up early and getting it going and doing something physical, in order to get my body back to its playing ability. That was the hardest thing for me because I’m not a morning person. After that was over, I was straight.”
The benefits to having Marshawn around aren’t just for him. He is a mentor to the Raiders young running back corps which includes two second year backs in Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington and rookie 7th round pick Elijah Hood.
“They’re all talented,” Lynch said of the group. “The biggest thing is that most of them probably were watching me when they were in middle school or high school, so it’s kind of crazy. I call all of them my kids so I’m their daddy. But to watch them work and see the work that they put in is a blessing and at the same time, I want to make sure that I uphold their standard of what they put on film. They’re all good so I just want to make sure that I fit in with them and continue to just run the ball like the Raiders have been doing.”
This isn’t just the final day of camp, it’s also the final practice before the Raiders’ preseason home opener. Lynch didn’t see the field in their first preseason game in Arizona — though he certainly made some headlines. He is expected to play Saturday against the Rams which will be his Raiders debut. And it will come in front of his home fans in Oakland.
“It’s truly a blessing,” Lynch said. “Just to have the opportunity to go and do that is a good ass feeling, man. It’s a good ass feeling.”
While we talk about guys like Beast Mode seeing every camp practice, there is the other end of the spectrum — those who missed the entire camp. The clean sweep ‘winners’ in that category are Gareon Conley (shin) and Jihad Ward (foot) who were on PUP, Ben Heeney and Cooper Helfet who were on NFI, and Donald Penn who held out of camp over a contract dispute.
Jack Del Rio said the next two weeks will be ‘huge’ as to whether Conley will be ready for the season opener.
Others who missed the past few days of camp and could be out additional time are Keith McGill (foot) and Denver Kirkland (lower leg).
Obi Melifonwu continues to see increased work. You can watch him in drills today moving around more than I had seen him since prior to his undisclosed injury that cost him most of camp.
It was a very light and short day. The players were just in helmets, jerseys, and shorts today and ended practice an hour earlier than usual.
Catch of the day: EJ Manuel threw for Jared Cook over the middle and Marquel Lee stepped up the defend it. The great catch was DeAndre Washington who plucked the ball off the deflection and took off up field.
Defensive play of the day: That same play. Marquel Lee stuck with Jared Cook over the middle to bat down the Manuel delivery. The catch by Washington aside, it was nice to see Lee D up on a tight end. The Raiders need that and he was picked on a lot in the first preseason game.
It was a day of good coverage in the Raiders short practice with quite a few passes defended.
Dexter McDonald stayed with Michael Crabtree up the left sideline and EJ Manuel either underthrew it slightly or was going for a back shoulder throw. Crab had to slow up for it and McDonald turned around and swatted it down. Crab yelled “Alright, Dex!”
Cory James had tight coverage to force an incompletion from Carr to Cook. This time no pesky running back swooped in to catch it off a deflection.
Karl Joseph later stayed in tight cover with Cook, who was Carr’s primary read. Carr opted for a dump to Marshawn instead.
Kenneth Durden knocked down a pass from Manuel to Gabe Holmes.
Connor Cook had a few good completions at the end, including a back shoulder connection to Isaac Whitney with Durden covering and a hookup with Keon Hatcher on an out with Antonio Hamilton in coverage. He ended with a on target fade pass to tight end Ryan O’Malley in the back right corner of the end zone, but O’Malley clanked it off his hands.
In case you were wondering, the supposed ‘rotation’ of second and third team reps throughout camp between EJ Manuel and Connor Cook never really materialized. Manuel held onto the second team spot from start to finish. And deservedly so.