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Raiders-Rams scrimmage: Day 1 winners and losers

Breaking down camp work with Rams in Thousand Oaks

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Las Vegas Raiders
Hunter Renfrow
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders completed their first of two joint practices with the Los Angeles Rams in Thousand Oaks, Calif. on Wednesday.

It appeared to be a solid day for the Raiders, but, as always, there were winners and losers during the session for Las Vegas. Let’s check it out.

Winners

Hunter Renfrow: it appears the Raiders’ shifty third-year slot receiver was the star of the day for both teams. He made some big plays and burned Rams’ superstar cornerback Jalen Ramsey a couple of times in the scrimmage. That’s a big deal. If Renfrow takes the next step in 2021, watch out NFL.

Defensive playmakers: The Raiders picked off Rams’ starting quarterback Matthew Stafford three times. Rookie safety Tre’von Moehrig, linebacker (and former Ram) Cory Littleton and backup cornerback Rasul Douglas all swiped passes from Stafford. That’s pretty encouraging for a team that had just 10 interceptions in 2020. This is telling: Stafford said the Raiders showed the Rams looks they haven’t seen this summer. That’s what new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is all about. He mixes things up. After one preseason game and one scrimmage, the unit looks more prepared and that’s a big deal.

Darren Waller: The Raiders’ star tight end blew up the Rams. Of course, that’s what he does. Every stinking day. He’s the reason why the Las Vegas offense can be special.

Losers

Team discipline: Tuesday, Raiders coach Jon Gruden said he didn’t want to see any fighting in the scrimmages because it’s not “competitive” and it was “stupidity.” Well, neither Gruden nor Rams coach Sean McVay were pleased what they saw Wednesday.

Guard Richie Incognito, tight end Foster Moreau and cornerback Nevin Lawson were among the Raiders who were reportedly part of the skirmishes. These type of things are actually routine during joint practices around the NFL. The players were overly excited to see another team. I’d expect, after they got screamed at by their coaches, both teams will be more calm during Thursday’s session.

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders
Marcus Mariota
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Mariota: He appeared to have a shaky day with some dropped interceptions. He has struggled with accuracy this camp and dealt with an injury. Mariota needs to finish the preseason strong so he and the Raiders have confidence in him as the regular season approaches.

Offensive line: I wouldn’t be too worried about it. If the Raiders’ offensive line stinks this season it’s not going to be because of what happened Wednesday. Rams’ defensive tackle Aaron Donald is one of the game’s all-time best. He always wrecks shop. So, actually, this work against Donald could end up being a great learning experience for this young group.

Conclusion: It seemed to be a good, encouraging day for the Raiders. There were expected ups-and-downs. But the Raiders probably had the better day of the two teams and expectations are high for the Rams in 2021. The best news of the day was there hasn’t been any reported Las Vegas injuries. That’s key. Now, onto Thursday.