After 10 weeks, the Oakland Raiders officially wrapped up the 2016 Offseason Workout Program Thursday, concluding their third day of Minicamp at the team's Alameda, Calif., facility.
While the team won't officially take the field again until it reports to training camp in late July, that doesn't meant the work stops for the players.
In fact, many of them look at the next six weeks – the time between the end of minicamp and the start of training camp – as one of the most important periods of the entire year.
"It's real important because when camp starts, that's basically the season," said cornerback David Amerson. "It all hits the fan now. You don't want to go into camp being like, 'I have to prepare myself for this or that.' You want to go into camp kind of with that mindset of, 'here we go. This is the season, let me polish up these other little things.' I think it's real important these next couple of weeks to really start training, or whatever you do, don't slack off. Don't think it's time to just chill or relax. You want to get in that mindset of going now, because once it gets here it's like, boom, boom, boom, boom – you're in the season."
Amerson is correct too; while late July might seem like way down the road right now, in actuality it's less than two months away, and there's still plenty of work that needs to be done between now and then. While the rangy cornerback may be only 24 years old, he's entering his fourth season in the NFL, and his time as a professional has taught him many things – including the need to take care of his body throughout the offseason.
"That's just something I learned being in the league as I get older," Amerson explained. "You don't want to go into camp trying to get right. You want to already go into camp prepared like, 'alright, if I had to play my first game tomorrow, I could play.'"
The Raiders will return to their Napa Valley Training Complex to open Training Camp 2016 in late July.
-Wednesday afternoon, special teams coordinator Brad Seely applauded Marquette King's improvement with his directional punts, and Thursday the Raiders' punter was back to working on just that, in addition to placing the ball inside the 20-yard line.
-Running back Latavius Murray has enjoyed a quality Minicamp, flashing his speed Thursday, taking a handoff from Derek Carr and proceeding to slash through the offensive line for a big gain.
-Defensive tackle Leon Orr made an impressive stop during one of the team's 11-on-11 sessions, swallowing up the running back as he tried to break through the line of scrimmage, resulting in a minimal gain.
-During one of the team's seven-on-seven drills, cornerback SaQwan Edwards made an impressive defensive read and jumped a route, knocking the ball from the hands of the intended wide receiver.
-Kicker Giorgio Tavecchio earned MVP honors from Thursday's session after knocking a very lengthy field goal straight through the uprights to end practice – and start Summer Break – 20 minutes early.
You Can Say That Again:
"I think we feel good about the whole team coming into camp being ready to work. Obviously, we'll see when we get there, but that's the anticipation, that we'd have a healthy team going into camp." – Head Coach Jack Del Rio talking about the health of the team.
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