Tuesday the Raiders begin their mandatory three-day minicamp. Unlike OTA’s where only three out of ten practices are open to the media, all three days of minicamp will be open. It will be nearly identical to how training camp takes place which means several 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 team sessions.
I’ll be on hand to bring you all the play-by-play on twitter (@LeviDamien) and the recaps right here. There are three things I will be looking for above all others.
There were six players who weren’t at practice for the final OTA open to the media. They were LB Brandon Marshall, G Denzelle Good, OT Trent Brown, DT P.J. Hall, ED Arden Key, and rookie CB Isaiah Johnson. Their issues could be minor. We don’t really know yet. We will be looking to see who returns to the field for minicamp. In part because you don’t want any serious injuries this time of year — the Raiders already had one, losing running back Isaiah Crowell for the year — and in part because you just want to see the whole team able to prepare as if it were training camp. That is, after all, the whole point of minicamp.
Paul Guenther is liking the options he has at the safety position these days. Mostly because he has several interchangeable parts he can move around. OTA’s began with Karl Joseph and Erik Harris running with the first team at the safety spots and Lamarcus Joyner manning the nickel corner spot. Second team safeties were rookie first round pick Johnathan Abram and free agent addition Curtis Riley. Could we see this group move around a bit? Guenther’s defense doesn’t have strictly a free/strong safety situation. He could have Abram earmarked for the starting safety spot. If so, it’s a matter of when and who drops to second team. It would appear the first team safeties figure to be Abram at strong safety and Karl Joseph at free safety. We should soon see how that all shakes out.
Slot Carr races
Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams are set as the starters on the outside. The top two options for the slot receiver job are free agent addition Ryan Grant and 5th round draft pick Hunter Renfrow. Who gets the job could depend on how quickly they can develop chemistry with Derek Carr. They’ve had a month and 10 OTA practices to develop that chemistry and get down the playbook. That learning curve will be on display in minicamp and could go a long way to predict how the battle will play out in training camp as well.