With ten years experience in not only the NFL but the Green Bay Packers organization, Jordy Nelson has entered a new environment and a competitive situation in Oakland. He recently got a chance to sit down with SiriusXM’s Pat Kerwin and Jim Miller, to talk about training camp and life as a Raider.
“This is a very competitive camp, we’re 8 deep or so that are competing for obvious spots and playing time. Not only spots on the roster but guys are competing for playing time once you make the roster,” said Nelson when asked about the wide receiver room. “We’re constantly pushing each other.”
Currently the Raiders have more wide receivers than they have spots on the roster to make the team. Even if the Raiders were able to carry six wide receivers the last couple of them would only be special-teamers. Nelson, Amari Cooper, Martavis (White Tiger) Bryant, are nearly locks to make the team. So that leaves a nasty dog fight between, as Nelson describes, at least five other receivers.
In years past the Raiders receiving corps has improved dramatically and other teams are now starting to poach the Raiders discarded receivers such as Jaydon Mickens, Andre Holmes, and Cordarelle Patterson. Coaching regime changes usually allow for the best of the bunch to come out.
“We’re challenging each other by learning the playbook,” Nelson responded when asked about the state of the wide receivers position group. “Some guys are asking me questions because I have been around for a while. . .How to run certain routes, how to gain leverage, landmarks on certain things. It took a little for me to step in and say something because I need to understand what the coaches wanted here.”
Nelson, was recruited by his former position coach at Green Bay, Edgar Bennett. The parallels between the two organizations are apparent from top to bottom. McKenzie is from the Packers, Gruden got some run as an assistant in Green Bay, quarterback Derek Carr has consistently been called ‘Baby A-rod’ for his similarities to the scintillating Aaron Rodgers. Most importantly the offensive style and flow are similar to what Nelson made his hay, on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.
“It’s been a great transition, a smooth transition,” said Nelson. “First couple of months is more just trying to understand their offense, of what coach Gruden is trying to install as his offense. . .The routes are very similar and some of the concepts as well. . .It’s the west coast offense which is the base of everything we did in Green Bay and do here. It’s no different from what I did for Green Bay for 10 years.”
As a double-digit veteran, Nelson is embracing his role as a leader. He acknowledges 27 new players have been brought in to try and meld together to form a unit. Players who know how to prepare for games are modeling the proper way to prepare for games to the younger players. It’s now year 11 in the league for Nelson and he plans on demonstrating his low receiving numbers last year was a fluke.