The time has officially come, ladies and gentlemen. 2021 Training Camp is upon us.
All players and coaches reported to Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center in Henderson, Nevada, for the first official day of Training Camp. Head Coach Jon Gruden was able to address the media in person for the first time since the end of the 2019 season. He was encouraged his first day of camp, reporting that everyone was in attendance and accounted for, and made their weight goals.
Gruden spoke with the media for roughly 20 minutes regarding the lofty expectations for this Raiders team and his goals moving forward. Here are a few of the most quintessential soundbites from the press conference Tuesday afternoon.
On being around new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley:
"Gus is a high-energy coach, he's upbeat, positive, philosophical, fun to be around. He makes you laugh but he also pushes you."
On 2019 first-round pick Damon Arnette:
"Well, we drafted Arnette in the first round. He was an opening day starter, so he's a big part of us moving forward. He had the virus; he had an injury to his thumb. He also had concussion injuries, so he was an incomplete performer for us last year, but he's as good a corner as we have talent-wise on this team."
On Darren Waller continuously improving:
"He's just got to keep being Darren Waller. He has done an incredible job of playing wide receiver, tight end, in the slot. He's come out of the backfield. He's smart, he's versatile. He's a complete player. He can block, pass protect. I've never been around a guy that is that unselfish, that talented and that versatile and that complete. We got to continue to build around him."
On 2021 fifth-round pick Nate Hobbs:
"You can tell he has quite a pedigree – coached by Lovie Smith. If you know Lovie, he's a great coach, a great defensive coach for sure. Nate is very professional for a young man. Very poised, lot of knowledge and doesn't make the same mistake twice. He has good quickness, has pretty good coverage skills and I think he has versatility to play inside or out."
On quarterback Derek Carr:
"Derek knows what he's all about and what kind of quarterback he is. ... He's a heck of a guy. He's a really mentally tough guy. And he's a really good quarterback that's really starting to play great for us. I think people are starting to recognize it."
His 2020 team evaluation:
"Well we're a 'C'. We were 8-8. That's the best of the worst, the worst of the best. We had some good moments. We proved we can compete in the AFC West. We were a couple plays away from being really good in the AFC West. And we proved we can compete on the road."
View photos of Raiders coaches and players as they report to Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center for 2021 Training Camp.