Today Jon Gruden turned up the heat a little bit. The first half of training camp was mostly about getting the playbook on its feet and seeing what the Raiders have with some of their new personnel on the field. The first day back to start the second half of camp, it’s time to see how they retain that information when the pressure is on. And it was a rough one.
There were false starts all over the place. Followed by dropped passes and miscommunications. Not a great performance on the eve of the Rams joining them in camp.
“We mishandled a pass, perhaps a game-ending pass. Should have been caught, wasn’t caught. That hurt us,” said Gruden. “And then we had a false start and usually that’ll cost you, so we learn from that. I thought the second offense did a nice job and it’s an area that we’ll continue to work on against the Rams when they get here tomorrow. We’ll have another two-minute drill to end practice.”
The biggest drop of the day came from JJ Nelson, who got a bit past Daryl Worley on a crossing route from right to left. Derek Carr threw a perfect pass, just past the leaping arms of Worley only to have it clank off Nelson’s hands.
The next play, Derek Carrier ran a go route and Carr threw it as if he was supposed to stop and come back for it.
A couple plays later Worley stuck to Tyrell Williams like glue up the right sideline, leaping with the big receiver to knock the Carr pass down. Carr went back to Williams on the next play, this time throwing it deep for him, but Williams stopped on his route.
Carr apparently saw something that cause him to change the play late and Williams didn’t follow along.
This is also why no matter how much ‘rapport’ Derek Carr and Antonio Brown have, it’s important for him to be out here in camp. Both for him and for Carr. And we still have no idea when or if he will set his frostbitten feet in Napa again.
Tomorrow the Rams will join the Raiders and the intensity will ramp up considerably. Gruden has already said the starters will see more time against the Rams in the couple days they are in Napa than they will in the preseason. So, this is the most work they are going to get.
“I think they’re excited,” Gruden said of his players facing another team. “I think anybody would be excited to break the monotony a little bit. Hit somebody else, see a different scheme and play some situations, see what we’ve learned.”
This scrimmage makes sense as both teams are here in California and are set to face off on Saturday in Oakland. But let’s not forget this Rams team was just in the Super Bowl in February. They are one of the two best teams in the league. If the Raiders play like they did today, the Rams will smack them around on their own camp field.
“Well, you get a chance to see a great team, number one,” Gruden said of the benefit to facing the Rams in camp. “And you get a chance to take a look at your young corners against talented, veteran receivers. You get a chance to look at different aspects of your football, your red zone offense, your red zone defense. We already talked about two-minute. We are going to take a look at our pass protection. Have we improved it? Or have we not? Tomorrow will be a great gauge because they are loaded up front.”
The Raiders young corners have not picked off a pass this entire camp. The only interception came last Sunday by safety Erik Harris who picked off Mike Glennon.
The flip side of that is that Derek Carr has not been intercepted. But if you’ll remember correctly, that was the case last year as well heading into their scrimmage with the Lions. That streak ended when he was picked by Darius Slay. Rams corners Marcus Peters and Aquib Talib figure to make for tough sledding for Derek Carr and company.
Catch of the day
We have to get this out of the way because we won’t be mentioning Darren Waller for a while. The first team tight end will not practice against the Rams the next two days and won’t see any snaps in the preseason game either. Waller is dealing with a mild shoulder issue and the Raiders are taking it easy with him. For that reason, he only saw time in one-on-ones early in practice and sat out team sessions.
The thing is though, his shoulder injury is not keeping him from beating Raiders defensive backs. He beat three of the Raiders top four safeties in those one-on-one drills. He had catches on Johnathan Abram, Curtis Riley, and Karl Joseph. He went against Joseph twice and twice got open. One of those times he couldn’t quite get to a Carr pass. It was a heater, he had to reach for. That might have been where his shoulder injury was a factor.
Defensive play of the day
I’m going to go with a couple here. The first being that Daryl Worley pass breakup covering Tyrell Williams. To leap like that against a receiver of Williams’s size was impressive.
The second came from Tahir Whitehead who came up the gut on a Mike Glennon dropback. Glennon either dumped the ball off to Jalen Richard to avoid pressure or it was a designed screen. It was hard to tell, but it didn’t matter because Whitehead nailed Richard as soon as the ball got in his hands for a loss on the play.
There were a couple would-be sacks today. Maurice Hurst got in the backfield to sack Mike Glennon and a few plays later, Nathan Peterman held onto the ball a bit too long and Josh Mauro got to him for the sack.
Good news Today came with the return of Paul Butler and Quinton Bell. Bell had been out since the second day of camp and Butler had missed the past few days. Jalen Richard return to action after being limited by a groin injury the past couple practices. Others missing were Antonio Brown (feet), Gabe Wright (knee), and Eddie Vanderdoes (concussion). And of course NFI: Keith Smith (knee) and PUP: Denzelle Good (back).