One of the buzzwords with the Oakland Raiders this season has been "chemistry".
Mix in "expectations" and "progress" as well, but heading into the team's second season under Head Coach Jack Del Rio chemistry seems to be at the forefront for the reasons why the Silver and Black are a trendy pick to make some noise in the AFC West this season.
Not only are quarterback Derek Carr and Co. another year older and wiser, but they have the added benefit of having consistency in the offensive and defensive scheme, as well as with the coaching staff.
With additions like safety Reggie Nelson, linebacker Bruce Irvin and guard Kelechi Osemele this offseason, the Silver and Black's young nucleus was infused with a plethora of talent via free agency, and while adding a handful of dynamic personalities into a locker room can at times result in in some growing pains, Del Rio has seen quite the opposite over the past few months.
"We feel good about that process the way it's worked," said Head Coach Del Rio. "In terms of chemistry, one of the unknowns, when you get guys out of free agency you don't know as much about those guys. You might make a call or two, but bottom line is there is a little bit of a calculated risk there. You can go back and review your notes from scouting, and knowing him prior to him entering the league, that kind of stuff. I think we're very pleased with the way it's worked out for us. You know, we feel like the guys that have come in have really fit in well."
With the 2016 regular season rapidly approaching, the chemistry and camaraderie with the team have been evident throughout the offseason, whether it's the continued on-field growth between Carr and wide receiver Amari Cooper, or the noticeable fun that the players have been having between the hash marks.
However, as pleased as Del Rio is to see the relationships between the players building, he was quick to note that real chemistry isn't tested until later in the season.
"To me the chemistry, you learn about the chemistry when you go through some rough patches," explained Del Rio. "We haven't even got into the regular season yet, but that's how you really learn how guys are going to stick together, and how they're going to take up for each other, and have each other's back. It's easy when things are going well. The tough part is when you're strained, when you're challenged, when you hit a rough patch how do you respond. That'll be something obviously we'll keep a close eye on."
-Undrafted rookie running back Jalen Richard made his return to the practice field Tuesday afternoon. The Southern Mississippi-product has missed the past few weeks of work, and has yet to appear in a preseason game for the Silver and Black, after being one of the more impressive through the first half of training camp.
-While Richard was back on the field again Tuesday, the same could not be said for tight end Gabe Holmes and defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. who missed the day's work. Wide receiver Amari Cooper went through the stretching portion of the day, but was a spectator for individual drills, and safety Reggie Nelson, while in uniform, worked on the side with a trainer.
-Tight end Colton Underwood has made a lot of noise over the past few days following the video he sent to Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman asking for a date. After Underwood posted the video, Raisman responded and agreed to go on a date with him, but that didn't stop his coach and teammates from poking some fun at him.
"[Tight end Jake McGee] showed me the video that Colton sent to her, and I was like, 'hey, man, you put yourself out on a limb there, bro,'" said Carr. "I think [Head Coach Jack Del Rio] said it too, I'm just happy for him that she said yes. That's a lonely feeling, being out there on a limb. I'm happy for him, and she made a good decision saying yes, because he's a really good guy."
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