Wide Receiver Amari Cooper
The Oakland Raiders were back on the field Tuesday afternoon, participating in their eighth Organized Team Activity [OTA].
Here are a few interesting notes I took in from their time on the field.
1. Spotted: Tommy Kelly
Defensive end Tommy Kelly spent nine years in Silver and Black, appearing in 129 games, totaling 34.5 sacks, and Tuesday afternoon he was back on the practice field – as a spectator.
Wearing basketball shorts and a black t-shirt, Kelly and Hall of Famer Willie Brown took in practice together, with Kelly at multiple points going over to take a closer look at the defensive linemen.
In addition to Kelly, General Manager Reggie McKenzie was also at Tuesday's practice, watching the team work from the sideline.
2. Downing Takes The Mound
Quarterbacks coach Todd Downing appears to have recovered from his "fall" during Monday's OTA, as he took a few minutes before practice to show off his arm throwing the football.
However, he didn't flex his muscles in a conventional way; instead, with quarterback Derek Carr acting as the catcher, and running backs coach Bernie Parmalee standing in as the batter, Downing threw the ball overhand like a pitcher.
Downing grooved two strikes in to Carr, with Parmalee not even raising the "bat" off his shoulder, and while Downing should keep his day job as a quarterbacks coach, it was impressive to see him show off his arm.
3. Taiwan Jones Turns On The Jets
One aspect of running back Taiwan Jones' game that has never been up for debate is his speed, and that speed was on full display Tuesday afternoon.
During a team session early in practice, Jones took a routine handoff from the quarterback, cut outside and proceeded to blow through the defensive line and cruise through the secondary untouched.
Later – in another team setting – Jones showed off his receiving skills, matched up against a linebacker this time, and after the ball was snapped, he easily burned past the defender, and proceeded to haul in an impressive over-the-shoulder-catch from Carr, before turning upfield down the right sideline.
While the Raiders drafted running back DeAndré Washington in the fifth round (No. 143 overall) of this year's NFL Draft to presumably serve as a complement to Latavius Murray, Head Coach Jack Del Rio has always said that the team will find a way to get their playmakers involved.
Jones has routinely shown that he has elite speed, so it'll be interesting to see how offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and the staff utilize him in 2016.
4. AC/DC Owns The Day
Tuesday's highlight from the Raiders' time on the field was impressive, and there wasn't even a close second to challenge it.
In one of the team's seven-on-seven periods, Carr dropped back to pass, and found a streaking Amari Cooper running down the right sideline after leaving the opposing cornerback in his wake.
Carr delivered an absolute dime to Cooper, who impressively located the ball in midair, and was able to get both of his feet down in bounds, all while securing possession of the football.
The Carr-to-Cooper connection proved to be an incredibly potent one at times during 2015, and another year together will hopefully yield even more impressive results.
If Tuesday's work serves as any indication, the pair is certainly off to a good start in 2016.
5. The Offense Gets Its Revenge
Yesterday when the team ended practice with a simulated four-minute drill, the defense was victorious, keeping the offense out of the end zone on three different occasions.
However, the same could not be said Tuesday as the offense won the final period of the day, resulting in all the defensive players and coaches having to do punishment pushups.
Only the first two teams competed against each other, but in each instance, the offense found the end zone – first on a handoff to Marcel Reece, and then on an acrobatic catch from wide receiver Andre Holmes right at the pylon.
It's encouraging to see both units competing against each other and both winning the competition portion of practice, as their battles against each other will only help them once they finally get a chance to go against live competition.