Training camp is a time of transition for players and teams. Often times that includes a lot of discussion about where players are in terms of their weight. Tom Cable likes his linemen big. And right now the left side of his line is considerably big.
Donald Penn is rehabbing a foot injury, so in his place is the 6-8 top pick Kolton Miller. When he was drafted, he was just over 300 pounds. That’s a lot for most humans, but at his extreme height, and playing the left tackle spot, that’s a bit light.
When he arrived in Oakland following his selection at 15 overall in April’s draft, most comments about him were about how tall he was or how athletic he is or how smart he is. It included some discussion about his needing to pack on a few pounds as well — something he has worked on diligently over the break.
“I’m working hard right now,” said Miller. “I did add a little bit of weight, which I’m happy about. I feel good where I’m at right now, I feel like I can still move well and I’m just going to keep working hard.”
He said he is not sure exactly how much weight he’s put on, but reports have it around 12 pounds, which would figure to put him close to 320 pounds right now.
Miller may like where he is at this point, but his head coach still sees his physique as a work in progress.
“He put in a lot of work physically,” Gruden said of Kolton Miller. “He’s going to get bigger. He’s just a pup getting started.”
The man next to him on the line is All Pro Kelechi Osemele. Osemele likes what he sees from Miller as the young guy getting thrown in at left tackle in place of Donald Penn, with whom Osemele has shared a line the past two seasons.
“Kolton looks real good right now,” said Osemele. . . “Physically his development, his understanding of our play-calling, the game, our scheme, he’s way ahead of where I would’ve been at this point of training camp my rookie year. So, he’s looking good.”
Throughout is career, Osemele has played at around 330 pounds. But while the 6-8 Miller is trying to get up around that weight, the 6-5 Osemele is taking it off.
To be exact, Osemele took off a whopping 25 pounds (!) this offseason he told Vic Tafur of the Athletic. As you might expect, his leaner physique is noticeable. Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson noticed the difference immediately upon Osemele reporting to camp Thursday.
“He looks unbelievable,” Olson said of Osemele. “It’s going to increase his longevity. I think he has always been a powerful, powerful player in this league, and if you look at him right now, he is still that way. Our strength coach (Tom Shaw) will tell you he hasn’t lost a bit of his strength.”
Osemele has felt the difference on the field over the first two days of camp.
“I feel great,” he said after practice on Saturday. “Still have all my strength and power, can get around a little quicker and it will be easier on my knees as I get older. I fasted for a bit and then cut out all carbs and sugars.”
Osemele went on to say that this wasn’t a suggestion from new offensive line coach Tom Cable or anyone on the strength and conditioning staff, but something he wanted to do for himself, adding “I feel amazing.”
Some may think the loss in weight would suggest Cable will be instituting a lot more zone blocking in the works for the Raiders offensive line. Osemele says that’s not the case. That this line will still be about power and downhill blocking.
“We have some big strong guys,” said Osemele, noting the Tom Cable wants to stick with what this line does best. “We’re going to be running zone and stuff like that, but it’s not going to be lateral. He never wants to be lateral. It’s going to be more downhill. . . That’s something that he’s been talking to us about. It’s not like one of those things where you hear, ‘oh zone, we have these big guys. They’re going to be running side to side, they’re not really good at that.’ He’s still going to allow us to attack people based on how dudes are lined up.”
Sounds like a pretty good plan. Best case scenario is Osemele will have his Pro Bowl left tackle next to him, but if not, Kolton Miller is doing what he can to get to his optimal playing weight to be ready.