The Raiders took the field Monday afternoon in the first full padded practice of Training Camp 2010 at their Napa Valley Training Complex. Today's practice marked the transition from walk-through style practices to full pads and contact. Players were allowed to finish blocks and hits in the first installment of game-style play.
Starting with individual drills, position coaches worked with their groups on their specialties: blocking skills, tackling, route running and pass catching. Groups worked on agility, strength and quickness with coaches giving individual players specific instructions for improvement.
Practice concluded with an 11-on-11 team session where players participated in the first game-like action of the 2010 season. Players were able to play the type of hard-hitting football they have been looking forward to all year.
According to rookie G Allen Smith, playing in full pads "feels fantastic."
"Being in pads is real football so it's a lot of fun," Smith said. Having the team in full pads also changed the dynamic of the practice. "We finish our blocks, we block all the way through the whistle, no more quick whistles. We're just going to go hard all the way through the play. That really gets guys in game type mentality," said Smith.
LB Sam Williams said that full padded practices increase the competitive drive and intensity. "Everyone is excited to put the pads on so everyone is going full speed and it's a great feeling out there," Williams said. "We got the mental part out of the way and now the bangin' comes and that's when football gets real fun."
The Raiders will not practice in full pads every session, but the team looks forward to the heavy competition created when the pads are donned.
While today's practice is already the ninth of training camp, spirits are high and energy has increased as the players feel the start of the season on the horizon and anticipate the preseason game versus Dallas in less than two weeks.
The Raiders will be back on the field for two practice sessions on Tuesday as Training Camp 2010 continues.