The Oakland Raiders are participating in their first Organized Team Activities (OTAs) of the 2013 off-season. Veterans and rookies are on the field together for the first time and coaches are able to watch their guys in action. Although most of the players have been in the facility working out for several weeks, OTAs really mark the start of the major on-field preparation for the season.
“We’re really trying to set the foundation for the upcoming season and [OTAs] is where you get it,” said Head Coach Dennis Allen. “And we set that foundation with the knowledge base of what we’re going to be offensively, defensively and in the kicking game. And we’ll set that foundation, but we’re also trying to evaluate and see what guys can and can’t do. The learning process is a part of that evaluation.”
Veterans, who have been through OTAs before, were happy with the first session. It was their opportunity to, not only face an offense or defense, but really get a feel for their teammates on the field. “It was good,” said QB
The offense had the opportunity to see some of the looks on defense and knock some of the rust off. “It was good,” said FB
FB Marcel Reece gets a carry during position drills. Photo by Tony Gonzales
The players can feel the renewed energy with all the changes made by General Manager Reggie McKenzie and Coach Allen. “There’s definitely a lot of energy and I love it,” said CB
Adding the rookies into the mix brings the energy level up even higher. “Definitely felt a lot of energy out there,” said WR
The rookies are taking this OTA session as an opportunity to learn as much as possible from the veterans. Rookie RB
The biggest transition from rookie mini-camp to an OTA is the speed, something Murray is trying to adjust to quickly. “It’s a lot faster, a lot more speed out there with the vets being there,” said Murray. “Just adjusting to that and making the most of the reps when I’m in. Just getting better every day that I go out there with them and try to learn from them and get better.”
As the vets meet the rookies and vice versa, the players are trying to have fun with all their new teammates and progress each day. “We have a lot of new faces out there, a lot of new guys out there,” said CB
Everyone has the same goal – to improve each day. “Come out there every day and just be prepared, be ready to work and come ready to get better,” said Murray. “And just kind of take every practice like it’s the only one you have and make the most of it.”
The Raiders have two more sessions in the first week of OTAs and will try to make the most of them. The men donning the Silver and Black know that the off-season is the time to set the stage for the season.