The end of the Raiders training camp program is just around the corner, and after two consecutive padded practices, the players got a day without the pads. After missing multiple camp sessions due to what was deemed as headaches, wide receiver Martavis Bryant returned to the practice field Wednesday morning. But while headaches were the reason given for his absence, head coach Jon Gruden isn’t convinced.
“I don’t know. I really don’t know,” Gruden said when asked what caused Bryant to miss multiple practices. “I call Martavis the White Tiger. I used to go to Busch Gardens in Tampa, we called Galloway the White Tiger in Tampa. You know you got to Busch Gardens in Tampa and they got a white tiger? You go 12 times, 13 times I went to Busch Gardens and the white tiger was always in his cage. Well, the white tiger came out today. Bryant came out. I don’t know if you get that analogy, but...sometimes he comes out to play, sometimes he doesn’t. It’s good to see him because he’s really special, like the white tiger.”
That ‘White Tiger’ comes out on occasion, including last week in scrimmages with the Lions, according to Levi Damien’s camp report. At that point Gruden noted “Martavis is not a good talent, he’s a great talent and we’re going to continue to work him into our offense” and that his practice showed “what he’s capable of doing.”
At 6’5” and as one of the fastest players on the team, Bryant’s athleticism has never been the problem. Instead, it has been his inconsistency and struggles to learn the playbook that have led to him running with the second and third team offenses.
Due to his incredible potential and physical gifts, Gruden traded a third round pick to the Steelers to acquire Bryant during the offseason. But the coach clearly expects more from his receiver having now called him out multiple times throughout training camp.
Stuck in a crowded receiving corps, Bryant has work to do if he wants to consistently see snaps with the first team.
- With Ryan Switzer and Seth Roberts running with the second team offense, the Raiders first team receivers for now are: Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson, and Griff Whalen. Whalen and Switzer have a similar skill set, and it increasingly seems only one will make the team.
- Gareon Conley remained the Raiders starting right cornerback for the entirety of team session with Melvin once again staying on the left sideline. Daryl Worley and fourth round pick Nick Nelson have also had a nice camp giving the Silver & Black much needed depth in the secondary.
- After returning to the practice field Tuesday as the Raiders starting right tackle, Donald Penn remained there during Wednesday’s session with first rounder Kolton Miller as the left tackle.
- The catch of the day goes to Keon Hatcher, who made an impressive leaping grab over a defender to come down with a ball under-thrown by Connor Cook.
- One of the standouts throughout camp has been edge rusher Arden Key. That continued Wednesday morning, as the third round pick consistently won his match-ups with his impressive quickness and bend.
- Bryant’s speed and quickness out of his breaks stands out. Conley was the only cornerback that managed to consistently stick with him.
- No Obi Melifonwu, Marcus Gilchrist, and Jon Feliciano at practice. Jared Cook was absent as well, although Gruden said he was healthy and being given a day off.
- Players returning from injury included Seth Roberts, Martavis Bryant, and Daryl Worley