And just like that, the Oakland Raiders have wrapped up the Offseason Workout Program.
All 10 Organized Team Activities [OTAs] are in the rearview mirror, and after a helmet-free, abbreviated session Thursday afternoon at the team’s Alameda, Calif., facility, Mandatory Minicamp has also come to a close.
It’s been a whirlwind six months for the Silver and Black, from the hiring of Head Coach Jon Gruden in January, to the complete roster rebuild, and most recently all three phases of the Offseason Workout Program, but starting Friday, a quiet will descend upon 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway, at least for a few weeks anyway.
“We just had a final examination today,” said Head Coach Jon Gruden following the day’s session. “We ran about 100 plays in a walk-through basis, no-huddle, two-minute, tight red zone, audible, different blitzes. Pulled guys in and out of the lineup, put them at different positions, tried to create some muscle memory that these guys can go home and remember what some of these things sound like and feel like. But, I’m really pleased with the offseason. I couldn’t really be more pleased. I got a lot of reps, we came together as a team which is the most important thing and we made progress and I saw the development of some young players and I saw the assertiveness of some veteran players which is absolutely a huge positive.”
The Raiders players will now go their respective ways until reporting to Napa for training camp in late-July, and while all the guys on the roster will be focused primarily on recovery, and spending time with their families before the season kicks off, they won’t be the only ones getting their bodies right.
“I’m having elbow surgery tomorrow, so I’m kicking off my offseason with a real, real bang. Aren’t I,” Gruden joked.
All kidding aside, the Offseason Program – while seemingly arduous at times – provides valuable time for players and coaches to be together, particularly in their first few months together, and now with time to reflect on the past few months, the Raiders head coach is pleased.
“I feel pretty good everywhere,” Gruden said. “I’d feel a lot better if No. 52 was walking around here right now. He’s the man. He’s the guy we have to figure out how to get back in here. Progress has been made. I think when we get everybody together a couple weeks into training camp we can better answer these questions because it is just shorts.”
Like I said earlier, things will certainly slow down for the Silver and Black, but that quiet will be short lived, as the team reports for training camp late next month.
Jobs will be won, position groups will be solidified, and before we know it, the Los Angeles Rams will be in Oakland to kick off the 2018 regular season.
But for now, school’s out for summer.
“I challenged our draft picks, our rookies, all of them,” Gruden said. “I challenged really the last three draft classes; we need to get more out of our young players here, and I also told them I don’t think we can bring in much better leadership from a veteran class of guys. I told the veterans, if the young guys don’t stop following you guys you’ll be playing in all four preseason games.”
Other notables From Gruden’s Press Conference:
-Gruden gave an update on the status of cornerback Gareon Conley:
“He tweaked his groin. He could have obviously been out there today. He’ll be ready to go for training camp, but just a mild strain.”
-He also shared that he’s going to be keeping the team’s kickers on their toes through training camp:
“We’re going to have a competitive situation. I think the rookie out of Florida [Eddy Piñeiro] is a capable guy. He’s a capable guy. And I also think [Giorgio] Tavecchio, he’s not going to relinquish that job. But it’s going to be competitive, we’re going to try to stage some competitive drills, not only at the kicking position, but some of these young players they might get their eyes opened the first few days of pads.”
-Gruden also spoke briefly about players that have impressed him throughout the offseason:
“Ryan Switzer has really caught my eye. Switzer has come in here and not only been a punt returner, kick returner, he’s come in and been a force as a slot receiver. He’s really done well. Kolton Miller, been impressed with Miller. There’s several guys. I think Marquel Lee, [Nicholas] Morrow, our young linebackers have come on. Our linebacker coach David Lippincott does an excellent job. I think his rapport with Paul Guenther from the Bengals’ days has really been a huge plus for us.”
Head out to the practice fields and see exclusive mandatory minicamp practice photos at Raiders HQ.