Daniel Hardin asks:
"My question is how's the defense looking?"
So far, so good.
The Raiders added a lot of pieces to the defense this offseason and it's proving to be a success so far in Training Camp. The defense looks hungry to be on the field and is doing a great job of not missing assignments through walk-throughs. The defense collectively is doing a better job of communicating.
The top takeaway I've noticed so far has been the improvement of the secondary. It has looked vastly improved with Casey Hayward Jr. leading the way. He is very vocal and creating great chemistry with his younger teammates. Johnathan Abram playing more in the box has looked beneficial as well.
The two rookies in the secondary setting themselves apart are Nate Hobbs and Tre’von Moehrig. Both have looked promising throughout camp and I am extremely excited to see what they can do once the pads are on Tuesday. The rookie defensive backs should use this time, as well as the preseason, to solidify themselves even further.
Bryan Weist asks:
"Has Ruggs been doing extra work?"
Henry Ruggs III has definitely done a lot of extra work this offseason -- and it shows.
Ruggs has come into Training Camp looking focused and more muscular than he did his rookie year. The receiver trained extensively this offseason and gained 13 pounds. He's putting his added muscle to good use as he's improved as a blocker, which will help in the run game with Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake.
Ruggs also looks more naturally confident on the field and more knowledgeable of the playbook, considering this is his first normal NFL offseason. Barring any injuries, Ruggs' speed and athleticism will be heavily depended on in the Raiders offense.
Eric Richard asks:
"How is Bryan Edwards looking this year?"
According to Head Coach Jon Gruden, like Terrell Owens.
Bryan Edwards has also had his moments through the first week of camp where he looks like he could become a dangerous weapon in this offense. A very common word that has come up to describe the way Edwards plays is "violent." Everything Edwards does is intense and with passion. He loves to use his height and strength to bully defenders, and is becoming a better route runner.
Edwards – like his 2020 draft classmate Ruggs – has looked much more serious and focused on the field with more knowledge of the playbook. It seems like the progressions of the two receivers have gone hand in hand throughout the offseason. Gruden is looking forward to seeing what Edwards has to offer going into preseason and compared the receiver to a Hall of Famer during an interview with NFL Network.
"Edwards has great ability," said Gruden. "He's got great ability. I'm excited about him. You see he looks like T.O., he looks like one of the number one wideouts in the league."
I also must admit, I got to give love to No. 89 regardless. We both share the same last name.
Topper Lion asks:
"I would like to know how Trey Ragas is doing & if it looks like he has a shot at No. 3 RB."
I must admit, I'm a huge Trey Ragas fan.
I briefly touched on Ragas in a previous Raiders Mailbag installment. The question regarding Ragas in that piece was actually from Mr. Lion as well.
But I have to talk about the undrafted free agent a little more, because my opinion on him has only improved. Ragas possess great size and speed and has made the most out of his opportunities on the field so far, along with Garrett Groshek -- a UDFA running back out of Wisconsin. Gruden is trying to get a feel for Ragas and how he fits in, but likes what he sees so far.
"He split time in college at Louisiana and had some running skills," Gruden said Saturday. "I don't think he was utilized much in the passing game, but he's getting better and better every day. We have a long way to go, he's going to get some good looks in the preseason."
The Silver and Black finish off their first week of 2021 Training Camp with a practice at Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center.