Rookie DE Jack Crawford goes through a defensive line drill. *Photo by Allan Yuan
The Oakland Raiders held their seventh day of Organized Team Activities (OTA) at their Alameda practice facility on Monday. The four OTA practices this week, in addition to a mandatory mini-camp next week, conclude the team's off-season program. Over the past several months, the players have participated in strength and conditioning, mini-camps and OTAs, all to prepare for training camp convening at the end of July.
Both the veterans and rookies have been using their time with their coaches, teammates, playbooks and on-field work to get acclimated to the Raiders under the direction of Head Coach Dennis Allen. "It's been going good," said veteran defensive lineman Dave Tollefson. "I mean, you can always expect some bumps in the road when you have a new coaching staff and a new GM, but Coach Allen has done a good job communicating with us as players and letting us know what we have going on here. The most important thing is what he expects of us. The expectations are high. They should be. Aim for the stars, land on the moon."
Tollefson, who spent the past five seasons with the New York Giants, has felt comfortable with his new teammates. "The guys, we're all getting along real well, you spend a lot of time together, which is good," said Tollefson. "It's how you build those relationships that matter on the field. It's been going really well."
QB Matt Leinart also came in to a brand new set of teammates and has enjoyed working with them throughout the off-season program. "I think it's gone good," said Leinart. "It's just getting acclimated with the new guys. For me, the transition has been a little bit easier just because I'm familiar with the offense. It's been awesome. It's been fun. Guys are working hard, getting better every day and that's all you can ask for."
The offense is beginning to feel comfortable in the new scheme and understanding what offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and Coach Allen envision. "I think we have a pretty good understanding of how Knapp wants the offense to be run and I think we've got the major idea and major scheme of what we're going to be doing," explained veteran T Khalif Barnes. "I think the guys caught on well to it. Guys have been learning their stuff and being professionals at it and we've been gelling pretty good. There's a lot of work to be done, but so far, the start of it, I've been pleased."
Rookie DE Jack Crawford has been soaking up the experience over his first few weeks in the NFL. "I think it's going real well," said Crawford. "It's been a great experience so far. Just been able to come in and learn how the system works, learn a lot from the veteran players and keep progressing and keep getting better every day. It's just been a great experience for me personally, just trying to better the little things before we get to camp. So it's definitely been a great learning experience."