The Las Vegas Raiders are starting their third week of training camp practice.
So far, it’s been a productive session. After talking to some folks in and around the organization, I wanted to present some notes on the general feeling in camp.
Confidence in defensive coaching:
People in camp are extremely excited about what they are seeing from new Raiders’ defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and his staff, which they see as a major upgrade from Paul Guenther and co. Players are being put in the right spots and the Raiders feel like they have will have more answers for opposing offensive coordinators than they did in the early stages of Gruden’s second tenure there. The Raiders aren’t sure if they will be great on defense in 2021, but they feel like they can be competitive on that side of the ball and that might be enough considering the ability of the offense.
Confidence in secondary:
As a result of the strong coaching, the Raiders feel good about their young secondary. They are not sure how the group will shake as far as the exact rotation, but they think young players like Trayvon Mullen, Damon Arnette and Johnathan Abram can make strides under Bradley and secondary coach Ron Milus. As Gruden said when training camp started, the Raiders are going to be very disappointed if this is a trouble area this season.
Feeling good about the future: The Raiders have many players working in their first contract. If these players can make strides in 2021, the team thinks they can be set for a while. They are in good salary-cap shape so they can easily sign players like running back Joseph Jacobs, defensive end Maxx Crosby and extend quarterback Derek Carr while keeping their core. Thus, Las Vegas thinks it’s future is bright.
Offensive line depth: Don’t be surprised if the Raiders continue to look for offensive-line depth played the August 31 initial 53-man roster date. They like their starting offensive line, but there is not a large margin for error. Thus, if starters get hurt, it could be an issue.
Heat is challenge: The struggle is real in terms of the Las Vegas heat. Yes, the Raiders start practice at 7:30 a.m. Still, it is often near 100 degrees by the time the two-hour sessions are over. Sometimes, practice gets a bit sluggish as a result of the oppressive heat. But, in the end, the Raiders think it will harden them and will help them stay conditioned for all four quarters of games throughout the season.
More Moreau: Gruden loves having varied offensive wrinkles and Foster Moreau may give him another one. The Raiders’ camp has been buzzing about how they can use Moreau, a third-year player, and star Darren Waller, in double tight-end sets. That can be a problem for opposing defenses, especially if young receivers Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards show up during the season. Defenses may run out of people to cover. Moreau has big skills and he may break out in 2021.