Thursday the Raiders returned to work after a day off. Heading into it, Antonio Brown had his most extensive work in practice and Gruden was optimistic his super star receiver would see even more work today. Then the team took the field and he was once again nowhere to be found.
His absence could have something to do with the video he posted on his instagram account which shows some serious (-ly gross) callas and blister shedding on his feet.
As tired as you might be of Brown being the story, so am I, actually. Mainly because he’s often the story for the wrong reason. I’d rather be talking about his play in practice. After all, in his handful of moments on the camp field, he has been unstoppable.
When he took to the field Tuesday, he burnt rookie Trayvon Mullen and top corner Gareon Conley. The only defender who stayed with him to make a play was Lamarcus Joyner.
“I mean Antonio Brown is one of those guys…It’s like Sunday . . . You know that if he’s out there, the ball is coming to him,” said Joyner. “So I just locked in and I just competed because if you don’t compete with Antonio, he’s going to embarrass you and he’s going to rub it in your face. I didn’t feel like having a down practice that day. I didn’t want to see him dancing with the stars (laughing). So I had to compete.”
Instead of getting it rubbed in his face, Joyner gave it right back to Brown. Joyner flexed on him and barked in celebration. Brown got up trotted by him and gave him a low five on his way by. As if to say ‘You got me this time. Respect.’
“Brotherly love, brotherly love,” Joyned said of the exchange. “He’s like that extra…when you’re grilling, that extra fire barbecue pit. What you need to bring the juice to make it that 400 degrees. When he’s out here, we’re on fire. We need him. He’s that extra gas that you need in that science experiment that’s going to help get things boiling. That’s what he does. When he’s out here, everybody is on fire because we know if you’re not on fire he’s going to set you on fire. So you have to be ready.”
There is certainly a fire missing from practice when AB is not out there. But there are some smoldering embers.
Early in practice several receivers caught deep balls. Tyrell Williams got so wide open on a Carr pass, you couldn’t tell who was covering him. Mike Glennon found De’Mornay Pierson-El and Nathan Peterman found Brian Burt for a long score too. All receptions were 50-yard touchdowns.
The Burt reception wasn’t enough to keep his roster spot. Shortly after practice the team claimed former Ravens receiver Jordan Lasley off waivers and waived Burt to make room.
Catch of the day
Those bombs were all fine and good. But the best connection was Mike Glennon to Ryan Grant. Glennon threw a perfect pass over the head of DJ Killings and Grant on a slant from left to right pulled it in over his shoulder. It was a thing of beauty. Glennon got some leaping chest bumps from that one.
Defensive play of the day
In blitz pickup drills, Tahir Whitehead utterly obliterated Jalen Richard, putting the pocket rocket flat on his butt. Richard was victim to another big hit a bit later from Arden Key who came around the edge and popped him one. I’d like to see Rocket Rich get him some payback in the coming days.
These days the Raiders defense is stressing communication. Burfict in particular wants players shouting out formations so they’re all on the same page. After one play, Burfict yelled at Lamarcus Joyner “Talk to me, Goddamn it!” and even followed him over to the side after to keep the discussion going.
“It’s Burfict trying to get the best out of me,” Joyner said of the exchange. “When you think about a guy like Gareon, he’s more a shell guy, but now he’s coming out his shell. Me I’m more a lead by example, but now I’m communicating more. Burfict is just trying to get me to do that communication every down and distance so we can become that much faster as a defense. So I have to do a better job and I appreciate the point that he’s trying to squeeze that out of me.”
The team signed undrafted rookie defensive tackle Anthony Rush. That brought the roster to 90 players. After practice they claimed 2018 5th round pick Jordan Lasley off waivers from the Ravens. They waived UDFA WR Brian Burt in a corresponding move.
Gabe Wright wasn’t at practice. He left with an undisclosed injury on Tuesday. Eddie Vanderdoes (concussion) and Quinton Bell (undisclosed) were still not practicing. Antonio Brown still not practicing with NFI: Keith Smith (knee). PUP: Denzelle Good (back).