Practice Observations: First Practice in Pads

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WR Michael Crabtree turned in the Play of the Day with this touchdown catch to end practice. Photo by Tony Gonzales/Raiders.com.

The Oakland Raiders donned the pads for the first time in Training Camp 2015 and also took part in their first late afternoon practice in Napa.

SiriusXM NFL Radio host and longtime NFL player personnel man Gil Brandt was in the house. Brandt, known as the Godfather of the Combine, says fan interest in the team is always high.

"First of all the Raiders are probably either the first or second ranked team as far as people calling and being Raiders fans. It's just amazing. A guy will call from Bangor, Maine, and say I've been a Raiders fan all my life and what does our team look like this year," Brandt said. "There's a lot of interest in the Raiders. It doesn't seem to make any difference if they're 0-16 or 16-0. It's probably the most loyal fan base of anywhere in the country."

Brandt also said that many people are intrigued by the new coaching staff and the product the Raiders are hoping to put on the field this year.

"I think that everybody thinks the quarterback building on what he did last year, with Cooper, new wide receiver, a new coaching staff, I think that people think that there's a chance this team will be a much better team," Brandt said.

Be sure to catch Gil Brandt on SiriusXM NFL Radio live from Raiders training camp with Alex Marvez from 4-7 p.m. PT tomorrow. Also, we'll have more from the Godfather in the coming days.

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Here are my observations from today's practice**:

Khalil Mack spent a good part of early individual drills working with the defensive linemen.

Wide receiver Brice Butler, after missing yesterday, was out on the practice field today.

Another big crowd of Season Ticket Members were on hand and all eyes were on rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper.

During pass rushing drills, linebackers, and some defensive ends worked on their edge rushing against tight ends and running backs. Linebacker Malcolm Smith plowed through tight end Brian Leonhardt on one rep, and defensive end Gary Wilkins blew past a blocker on one rush.

Linebacker Sio Moore dusted off his patented dance moves and got the crowd pumped up between drills.

Running back Michael Dyer drew cheers as he burst to the outside and made a nice run down the left sideline.

Special teams drills included working on blocking punts. Rookie linebacker Neiron Ball basically took the ball off punter Steven Clark's foot to the delight of the fans.

Wide receiver Michael Crabtree made a nice catch on a skinny post during 7-on-7.

Rookie tight end Gabe Holmes made two catches in a row, the second well downfield on a nice throw from quarterback Christian Ponder.

Cornerback Rob Daniel made a nicely timed play going through a receiver to break up a pass.

Wide receiver Amari Cooper made a nice grab along the left sideline between two defenders.

Wide receiver Andre Holmes made an impressive leaping grab along the right sideline and kept his feet in bounds.

Play of the Day

Wide receiver Michael Crabtree ended practice with a spectacular touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone on a fade route.

Tweet of the Day

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