Day One of Mandatory Minicamp is in the books for the Oakland Raiders.
On an unseasonably warm, mid-June day, Derek Carr and Co., were on the field for the first of three days of work before breaking for summer. Here are five observations from their time at work.
1. Full attendance
The biggest difference between Mandatory Minicamp and the rest of the offseason program is that this is well… mandatory.
And, as expected, the Silver and Black’s roster didn’t disappoint in that regard.
Much was made – likely out of boredom’s sake, I would guess – about players missing a day or two of the voluntary portion the offseason program, but that certainly wasn’t the case today, as the team had 100 percent attendance on Tuesday.
“Everybody is here,” said Head Coach Jon Gruden Tuesday. “We’ll have a couple guys that won’t participate much this afternoon for various reasons, nothing serious, but we’ve had an unbelievable attendance on every day of our offseason program. This is just an exclamation point on that.”
Headed into Minicamp, I think we all collectively wanted to see how the tandem of Antonio Brown and Derek Carr looked in the team’s final sessions before breaking for summer, and I think we can safely say that the dynamic duo looks pretty solid.
The Raiders starting quarterback found the All-Pro wide receiver numerous times throughout the two-hour session, and I must say, watching AB practice in person is truly a treat.
Not only does the man attack every rep with a rare type of vigor and intensity, but seeing what he can do to opposing to defensive backs is pretty wild.
I know we won’t get a full picture of what Carr and Brown are capable of being until the regular season, but man, the pair looks locked in through one day of Minicamp.
Let’s see if they can ride that momentum over the next two days.
3. Don’t sleep on Tyrell Williams either…
Antonio Brown has understandably garnered a ton of attention since arriving in the Bay Area, but one guy that I’ve been impressed by throughout the entire Offseason Workout Program is another wideout the Raiders signed this offseason – Tyrell Williams.
With 52 appearances under his belt, the former Los Angeles Charger has his best football still ahead of him, and watching practice Tuesday, I was struck by just how smoothly Williams does everything.
From running routes, to going through drills and catching passes, everything that No. 16 does looks so fluid, and I really can’t wait to watch more of him throughout training camp and the preseason.
Brown is going to be the recipient of a ton of defensive attention this year, and I think that Tyrell Williams is going to be one of the biggest benefactors of those eyes being on No. 84.
4. Darren Waller keeps the good times rolling
Another guy who has really enjoyed a quality start to 2019 is tight end Darren Waller.
In addition to being an absolutely freak athlete, the former Baltimore Raven is at a good place off the field, and with the confidence of Coach Gruden and the organization behind him, Waller is hopeful that he’s found a permanent football home.
“The thing with me is…I feel like people have always had faith in me, but it was like I didn’t really have faith in myself,” he explained Tuesday. “So it’s part of doing my part, doing my half because a lot of coaches have stuck their neck out for me and what I’ve given them in return isn’t what they deserve or what the team deserved. For Coach Gruden to say that, I feel like I’m at a place in my life where I can build off of that and make the most of my abilities and what God gave me.”
Those abilities were on full display on the opening day of Minicamp, as Waller flashed that aforementioned athleticism on numerous occasions, most noticeably hauling in a really nice sideline catch courtesy of Derek Carr.
5. Lamarcus Joyner shows off his versatility
I have a feeling that Lamarcus Joyner is going to be a fun piece for Paul Guenther to move around in his defense in 2019.
Just based off of what we’ve seen throughout the Offseason Workout Program, the veteran safety will fill numerous roles for Guenther, and Tuesday afternoon he showed that regardless of where he lines up, he has the ability to make an impact.
It seemed like No. 29 was around the ball throughout the entirety of Day One of Minicamp, and for a secondary looking to really show a marked improvement this year, that type of skill will be invaluable.
Joyner has two days left to end this portion of the year on a high note; I’m excited to see what he does on the field over the next 48 hours.