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Raiders Finish Up First Week of OTAs


The team takes a knee at the end of practice to listen to Head Coach Dennis Allen.

The Oakland Raiders concluded their first week of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) at their Alameda practice facility on Thursday. The practices marked the first time the rookies and veterans have had a chance to work together.

The rookies took the opportunity to watch and learn from the veterans throughout the week. "It was pretty cool," said TE Kyle Efaw, an undrafted free-agent out of Boise State. "It's obviously a big step up in competitiveness and player skill and whatnot, so just trying to learn as much as I can from the vets by just watching them and taking in as much as I can."

For rookie WR Derek Carrier, undrafted out of Beloit College in Wisconsin, the OTAs are an opportunity to get a real feel for the NFL. "It was kind of eye-opening," said Carrier. "I know at first it's just getting used to the rookies, getting used to those guys, getting used to what we do. And then definitely you could see the tempo pick up, everything pick up, once the veterans got there. It's just been great."

Despite the change of pace, the rookies are adjusting as quickly as possible. "It was a little different, but I think it went all right," said Efaw. "Just trying to catch up, get on the same page as far as the playbook and everything and just take a lot of mental reps."

Carrier is soaking up the experience and trying to make the most of it. "It was great; it was a lot of fun," said Carrier. "Definitely an adjustment to the speed of the game. The playbook is pretty extensive compared to what I usually deal with in college, but it was a lot of fun and a great learning experience."

For the veterans, it was their first chance to see the new rookies in action. "It went real well," said CB DeMarcus Van Dyke. "A lot of guys are out there flying around. There are young guys out there showing that they deserve to be up here, guys like [Juron] Criner and Chaz Powell, so it's a good week for us."

The veterans have also had more time to study the playbook and feel comfortable with the schemes. "It went pretty well," said RB Mike Goodson, who joined the Raiders via trade in March. "Getting into the swing of things, learning the playbook, and I've kind of got it down now, so being able to move faster."

The Raiders had an impressive turnout for the mini-camp and, now, OTAs. "Mostly everybody was here for mini-camps, and OTAs it was pretty good to have everybody here," said Van Dyke. "It means everybody is buying into what Coach Allen has to say."

As the team heads into their second OTA next week, both veterans and rookies want to continually improve, correct mistakes, and grow individually and as a team. "[I want to] just try to learn mistakes that I've made, things that I've done, try to improve upon that," said Carrier. "And take things that we do in individual period, build upon those skills, and take those into team and just keep on making progress every week."

The veterans want to dive further into the playbook.  "Just review of the playbook, make sure I know the ins and outs, so I can continue to play fast," said Goodson.

Van Dyke also wants to up the pace by minimizing mistakes. "Improve on the little things that we messed up this week, just the tempo getting faster and make more plays," said Van Dyke.

Efaw wants to, "just keep trying to get better every day, try to improve and just stay on the grind each and every day." He, and the rest of the team, will have the chance starting Monday morning on the practice field.

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