Quarterback Derek Carr and Wide Receiver Amari Cooper
The Oakland Raiders wrapped up their final four of 10 Organized Team Activities this week at their Alameda, Calif., facility.
Mandatory Minicamp kicks off Tuesday, but before the team takes part in its final tune up before Training Camp 2016, let's look at five things we learned from the final week of OTAs.
1. Head Coach Jack Del Rio joined Twitter
The 2016 Oakland Raiders are many things; they're exciting, they're confident – and they're also active on social media.
From punter Marquette King showing off his piano skills on Instagram to defensive end Khalil Mack sharing life lessons with his "Lost In The Sauce" segments on Snapchat, the members of the Silver and Black know to engage fans on social media.
Now, Head Coach Jack Del Rio will get a chance to do that as well, as he joined Twitter Tuesday morning.
"I did launch the Twitter [account] today, so I joined that, did it in front of the team first," said Del Rio before he began his Tuesday press conference. "Just an opportunity to I guess be a little more current and share a little insight. Give you a little peak into what we're doing here and how hard we're working. Be purposeful, building for this season and how excited we are for it. Just a little opportunity."
You can follow him @coachdelrio.
2. Ken Norton wants to see consistency from Khalil Mack
Khalil Mack enjoyed a breakout 2015, finishing the season with 15 sacks, a trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl, and the impressive designation of being the first player to be named First-Team All-Pro at two different positions in the same season.
Now, as Mack heads into his third season in Silver and Black, defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. wants to see one thing from the imposing defensive end – consistency.
"We expect him to play at that level all the time," said Norton. "The really good players know how to make players around them better. It can't just be Khalil. It has to be [linebacker] Bruce [Irvin], it has to be all the guys up front. The group, as a whole, has to take the same leap that Khalil does. Khalil has to learn how to bring everybody with him."
Norton is right; as impressive as Mack was last season, he definitely produced in spurts, so having him play at a high level from Week 1 to Week 17 would pay huge dividends for the Silver and Black.
3. Continuity is key
As the team goes through the Offseason Workout Program this season, the entire coaching staff is back, as are many of the players from 2015.
That continuity heading into 2016 is crucial, as returning players won't be asked to learn a new playbook, or adjust to a new scheme, and there won't be any surprises as far as what the expectations are for each member of the team.
Veteran wide receiver Michael Crabtree has played nearly 100 games in the NFL, and he knows firsthand the importance of continuity.
"I think that's very important in football, having the same coaches, same quarterback, same receivers," Crabtree said. "We know each other and we're just going to feed off of each other and get better, really just taking that step up from last year."
Crabtree enjoyed an impressive first season in Silver and Black, so it'll be exciting to see what kind of steps he can take in his second year in offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's system.
4. AC/DC is starting to warm up
In their first year together, Derek Carr and Amari Cooper showed that they have the ability to be one of the most potent quarterback-wide receiver combinations in the NFL.
Now, entering their second season together, the expectations for the pair are high, but the duo seems to be getting off to a fine start during the Offseason Workout Program.
OTAs are valuable for quarterbacks and wide receivers to work on their timing and to learn the subtleties of each other's game, and that's exactly what Carr and Cooper have been able to do over the past few weeks – a luxury they were not afforded last offseason as Carr recovered from injury.
AC/DC also stole the show Tuesday, delivering the best play of the day – and maybe even the best of OTAs as a whole.
During one of the team's seven-on-seven periods Carr found Cooper streaking down the right sideline and delivered an absolutely perfect pass that fell into his outstretched hands, also giving the wide receiver ample time to get both his feet down inbounds.
The play offered a glimpse of how explosive the pair can be, and being able to see Cooper's speed and precision up close and personal made it all the more impressive.
The Raiders concluded Organized Team Activities on Thursday at the team's Alameda, Calif. practice facility.
5. Excitement is peaking for Training Camp 2016
After nearly two months, the 2016 Offseason Workout Program will come to an end Thursday after the Raiders wrap up their three-day Mandatory Minicamp.
* *The three-day session will serve as the team's final organized work before the players report to training camp in late July, and after 10 weeks, excitement is high to officially kick off the 2016 campaign.
"Very antsy, man, very antsy," Khalil Mack said when asked about heading to training camp. "Can't go all the way there. We're looking forward to training camp, but we're grinding right now."
Mack's correct, the team has been grinding, and at this point in the Offseason Workout Program it's hard not to look ahead to next month when the season officially kicks off, but there's still work to do before the players leave the facility for their summer break.
This season is shaping up to be an exciting one for Raider Nation, and it's an excitement that emanates from the players and coaches alike.