The Oakland Raiders opened up their three-day Minicamp Tuesday, and not only do the sessions provide the team a final tune-up before its summer break, they also allow Head Coach Jack Del Rio to do a little mixing and matching as far as the team's lineups go.
Whether it's pairing rookie wideouts with members of the starting offense, or having Matt McGloin and Connor Cook split reps at quarterback, Minicamp provides the perfect setting for a little experimentation with personnel – experimentation that wouldn't necessarily happen later in the offseason.
That being said, Del Rio doesn't believe too much should be read into the mixing and matching over the next three days; the coaching staff is just trying to find the best personnel groupings to pair together in different situations.
"No, no, nothing really, other than we're working our guys," said Del Rio when asked about McGloin and Cook splitting reps. "There are a lot of different combinations this time of year, making sure we give guys exposure, so no I wouldn't read too much into any particular position moving around getting time. Obviously, all the quarterbacks need to work and be in different situations, so that'll be part of how we go through the rest of the Minicamp and all through Training Camp."
In addition to implementing a little variation on the field, the other thing Del Rio wants to see from his group during Minicamp is just continued growth from the various positions groups. While the team did add a plethora of free agents this offseason, a majority of the members of the team have experience working with the current coaching staff, and as such, Del Rio wants to see those players show an increase in confidence and understanding on the field.
"We've been working now a while on some of the fundamentals that we're looking for, so we want to see some of that, some of the growth in terms of system, understanding, with the guys playing fast," Del Rio explained. "I think when you look at our time right now, what I'm liking is how fast we're playing. I feel like we've added team speed, but we're playing fast. We're playing with more confidence and that's critical, so something we're looking to develop, to play faster and faster, play smart, under control, be tough, but that speed is really showing up."
-After being a limited participant throughout most of the Offseason Workout Program, defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. returned to the field – without restriction—Tuesday.
-Rookie defensive end Greg Townsend Jr. made an impressive play during Tuesday's session, bursting through the offensive line and meeting the running back behind the line of scrimmage, resulting in a loss on the play.
-Punter Marquette King was his usual boisterous self, showing off his impressive leg and routinely forcing punt returners to retreat back to their goal lines to receive his kicks.
-The catch of the day belonged to fullback Marcel Reece who made an impressive grab during one of the team's seven-on-seven sessions, diving back across his body to haul in a pass from quarterback Derek Carr.
-Cornerback DJ Hayden also enjoyed a few highlights Tuesday, making back-to-back pass breakups during one of the team's final 11-on-11 sessions.
You Can Say That Again:
"I was there supporting the Warriors, great crowd last night, really a good ballgame, just didn't finish the way the Warriors wanted it to, but the crowd was tremendous. I know we'll bounce back and find a way, get them [the Cleveland Cavaliers] in Game 6 hopefully, but yeah definitely there supporting." – Head Coach Jack Del Rio on attending Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
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