Sunday marks the day Head Coach Jack Del Rio has been waiting for since the team arrived in Napa, Calif., nearly a week ago, as the Oakland Raiders will hold their first padded practice of Training Camp 2015.
Speaking after Saturday's session of on-field work, Head Coach Del Rio talked about the excitement of seeing his team in pads, as well as the addition of center Rodney Hudson.
THE TIME FOR ACCLIMATION IS OVER
Head Coach Del Rio began his media session by stating that the time for acclimation is over – the Silver and Black will begin padded practices tomorrow at their Napa Valley Training Complex.
"That right there is the last of our acclimation practices, now we can actually put the pads on tomorrow, so we'll do that. I thought it was a pretty solid day's work. So much to get done, but energy was good. I think having the pretty good crowd out there today was nice. The game's played in pads, so you really can't get a full evaluation until you get your team in pads and see them compete. That's the next part, so we're excited to get that phase going and that'll be part of what we do."
DEVELOPMENT OF THE DEFENSIVE BACKS
In contrast to the last few years, General Manger Reggie McKenzie elected to go young with his defensive backs in 2015.
As training camp wears on it'll be one of the more hotly-contested position battles on the Raiders roster, as Head Coach Del Rio is intent on making sure that the best players earn the most snaps.
"We feel like we have a group there that has a chance to develop. Some young, talented guys, physically-talented guys that need work. They're going to get that. It's going to be a very competitive camp and we'll let them be developed, be coached, let them compete against each other and let the guys who are the most productive play the most. We feel like we have a good young group."
LINEBACKER SIO MOORE RETURNS
After a short stint on the [Active] Physically Unable to Perform list, linebacker Sio Moore returned to the practice field Saturday.
"We need to find out what he [Moore] can bring. I haven't really seen him full tilt, but he is active now. He has joined the team again now in a full-go capacity and so I'll get to learn more about him. We'll learn more as we go with him. We need all of our players to grow, and to improve and to become great teammates, and he's no different."
IT'S ALL ABOUT TEACHING
Since he took over in Oakland, Head Coach Del Rio has stressed the importance of teaching the players, and has constantly spoke of building a coaching staff full of teachers.
This teaching theme has continued in to training camp, where specific portions of practice are used primarily just for teaching and correcting mistakes.
"I think we've assembled a great group of teachers, so we're busy teaching. There was a segment there, prior to the field goal-kicking segment, about two periods before the end, it was like a 15-minute [teaching] period, and in that you're seeing individual coaching going on, and individual techniques being stressed. As we get the pads on, some of that will be a little more physical in nature, but the bottom line is we believe in fundamentals. We're going to stress fundamentals and we have a staff that understands that and are good teachers."
RODNEY HUDSON IS ANCHORING THE OFFENSIVE LINE
Center Rodney Hudson was signed during free agency to anchor the Raiders offensive line, and that is precisely what he has done since arriving in Oakland – both on and off the field.
"It helps if the center is that type of guy, because basically it all starts with him. He's going to make the calls. He's going to snap the ball, so every play starts with him. I knew that he was, I think, an emerging player in the league, having gone against him twice a year. I felt like he was one of, if not the best, centers in the league and had a lot of respect for his game and so we were able to acquire him and I'm very excited about that."