The members of Raider Nation in attendance on Saturday for the team's first practice of training camp were electric, and Head Coach Jack Del Rio was fired up as well. The Oakland Raiders not only hosted season ticket holders at Saturday's opening practice, but various alumni who have donned the Silver and Black over the years. Del Rio expressed his joy to have the alumni be a part of the festivities, but was focused on fine-tuning his group.
Here are the quick hits from his time with the media after practice:
Del Rio broke down what he's seen from rookie safety Obi Melifonwu in the early going.
"He's a talented young player, I think he's a really good edition to our football team. He's serious, he's smart, and he's willing to work. That's the initial impression, and then we haven't even put the pads on that yet, to go much further than that I think we'll just wait and see. But obviously we're excited about the young man we added to the roster."
He also discussed fellow rookie Eddie Vanderdoes, who he expects to compete at a high level on the defensive line.
"He and [Treyvon] Hester, two young tackles that we drafted, we want them to come in and be big, strong, athletic guys up front that can push the pocket a little bit, and help us stop the run, and give us some interior pass rush. That's why they're here."
Del Rio shared his thoughts on running back Marshawn Lynch, and what stands out about him.
"When I think of Marshawn, I think of passion, because he's a very passionate player, and I think of toughness, and physicality. I think he brings those things to our football team, he's been a terrific teammate, he's been great just from Day One. Everything has been really outstanding with him, and him joining us, and him fitting in with our guys. I think they love him, we love having him, and it's great. He's healthy and in good shape, and ready to have a good year for us."
**He talked about the positions he sees competition at, and that the evaluation process is already occurring.
"It'll be just like who's going to start at inside linebacker? Who's going to be the backup quarterback? Who's going to earn the position at right tackle? Those are all questions that we have to answer in this camp. Those are all battles I'm sure I'll be getting asked about a lot, certainly there's a process underway in evaluating. Making sure that we allow these guys to come in and really compete."
Del Rio praised Offensive Line Coach Mike Tice for what he's accomplished with the group, and hopes to see some young guys step up in the coming days.
"We've got a good group of guys, Mike Tice does a terrific job with that group, and we'll work them, and get them in shape, and get ready to go. This can be valuable time for a guy that maybe gets a few more reps than he would have, because of the current situation. We'll look to utilize that, turn it into a positive, and take that time to develop some of these guys, and bring them along maybe a little quicker."