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Darren Waller eager to see O-line continue to grow and 'do great things'

Training Camp is about to kick off with plenty of new faces on the Raiders' offensive line.

On Monday's edition of NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" show, tight end Darren Waller broke down what he's seen so far from the new guys on the O-line as well as his own personal mentality heading into the season.

"I've been impressed with Andre James at center so far," he said. "Just his mental preparation and how he's already on top of calls and checks. ... Alex Leatherwood is a guy you can tell he's absolutely locked in and is taking this very seriously. I'm excited to see how he builds upon the foundation that he already has.

"Having guys like Richie [Incognito] in there and Denzelle Good on the interior helping guys like John Simpson continue to develop. I feel like our offensive line is going to do great things and just continue to get better under Coach [Tom] Cable's leadership. Offensively, I'm looking forward to seeing what Bryan [Edwards] and Henry [Ruggs III] do on the outside. Two supremely talented guys that I want to see win in every way possible."

The tight end kept busy in the offseason, putting in the work to bring his game to another level as he aims for another successful campaign.

"Staying on top of training, making sure I'm putting myself in uncomfortable situations so the season doesn't surprise me in any way," he said. "Try to run every route possible in the book and not make any excuses as to why I can't run it."

Waller enters his third full year in the Silver and Black after a standout season in which he set career highs in receptions (107), receiving yards (1,196) and receiving touchdowns (nine). He also broke the franchise single-season receptions record and made his first Pro Bowl.

The 28-year-old will, of course, be looking to break those career highs again in the 2021 season. He described his mentality as one that's focused on himself as the biggest challenger to his game.

"I take the field with the approach that the only person that can stop me is me," he said. "I have that confidence in my game. I try to have that confidence in how I handle life on a day-to-day basis.

"I feel like I'm the person that has gotten in my way in my past. Now I'm an ally to myself. I feel like I can accomplish whatever God has in store for me and I'm just trying to take these things one day at a time. I feel like I'm out here competing with myself and as long as I'm out of my own way, I like what's going to come."

The one noise he won't be tuning out though is the cheers of fans as they make their way to the stands of Allegiant Stadium for the first time. Waller said the return of Raider Nation would be a welcome sight — and sound — after a season of quiet due to COVID-19.

"It was a great experience to play in that stadium last year but we were really missing the most important element which is Raider Nation... We need that energy to help take us to another level."

View photos as coaches, rookies and select veterans report to Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center before the start of 2021 Training Camp.

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