Wide Receiver Amari Cooper
The Oakland Raiders kicked off their three-day Mandatory Mini-Camp Tuesday afternoon at their Alameda, Calif., facility.
The sessions serve as the final team-wide activities that the Silver and Black will participate in prior to their summer break, so let's look at five things we noticed from their first day on the field.
1. The Offense Is Filled With Weapons
Last season, the Raiders boasted one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL. Quarterbacked by Derek Carr, and with weapons like wide receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree on the outside, the Silver and Black made lives miserable for opposing defensive coordinators in 2016, but as crazy as it sounds, they could be even better in 2017.
Running back Marshawn Lynch has obviously entered the fold, returning to the East Bay to play for his hometown team, but along with the new No. 24, General Manager Reggie McKenzie added a plethora of other weapons to the offense through the draft and free agency.
Granted neither the offense or defense was in pads this afternoon, but after just one session, and seeing Carr sling the ball around to Cooper, Crabtree, Seth Roberts, and new addition Cordarrelle Patterson, it's easy to see that this group has the chance be a potent one in the coming months.
2. Amari Cooper Continued To Shine
Speaking of offensive weapons…
In his post-practice press conference, Derek Carr mentioned how impressive Amari Cooper has looked this offseason, and Tuesday afternoon it was easy to see what No. 4 has been seeing for the past couple of months.
First of all, Cooper certainly looks physically bigger than he did at the end of 2016. His speed, footwork, and route running ability have never been questioned since he entered the league, but seeing him go about his business on the field Tuesday made it that much more evident how bigger and stronger he looks.
The duo that has become affectionately known as AC/DC connected on a few deep passes throughout the open session, and headed into 2017, Carr is hoping to see more of that.
"It's something that we want to continue to grow at because you hit on those deep balls… There are a couple of times we hit them early in games and it gets in not only the player's head that's guarding him, but the coach's head," Carr explained. "Do you want to leave him on that island? What do you want to do? When you do, are they going to play hard over the top? And then you get everything else working for you, so working on that deep ball is always important. Me and 'Coop,' it's something that we work very hard at."
I'm hardly jumping off a ledge saying this, but I'll say it anyways; I think 2017 is going to spell big things for No. 89.
3. Tyrell Adams made his presence felt
As we go through Mandatory Mini-Camp, and eventually get to training camp in late July, one of the big positions to keep an eye on will be middle linebacker.
With Perry Riley, Jr., no longer wearing Silver and Black, the Raiders will look to a bevy of young players to eventually fill the role of the man in the middle come the regular season.
One of the players that will find himself in the mix is Tyrell Adams, and Tuesday afternoon, the former West Georgia Wolf made a few noticeable plays, including a nice pass breakup on a shuffle pass intended for DeAndré Washington.
While Adams appeared in just six games in 2016, he's shown a nose for the football throughout the Offseason Workout Program, and his effort Tuesday was consistent with that.
4. There Were A Plethora Of Teachable Moments
Was Tuesday's effort perfect? Nope, but at this point in the offseason that that's certainly no reason to panic; any perceived slip ups throughout the day provided teachable moments for the coaching staff to get in the ears of their players.
From a deeper understanding of coverage formations, to knowing exactly where players needed to be lined up offensively, over the next three days there will be plenty of moments for Head Coach Jack Del Rio and his staff of teachers to do just that.
"We've had a good offseason, very productive offseason," Del Rio said. "A lot of good work has gone into it. Getting the system installed and all the fundamental work we want to get. Get some good competition. It's been good."
An exclusive look at Day One of Mini-Camp.
As Del Rio likes to say, while championships aren't won during the offseason, the fundamentals of a championship are indeed built, and I'm sure he'd rather his team make mental mistakes, and then correct them, in June than December.
5. There Was A Championship Flare In The Air
The Golden State Warriors toppled LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night – extinguishing any lingering 3-1 jokes in the process – and the Dubs victory was no doubt a conversation piece throughout the day Tuesday.
Del Rio and Carr were both asked about Stephen Curry and Co., during their respective podium sessions, saying that season the Warriors come home with another championship only intensified their own desires to bring a Super Bowl back to Oakland.
Not only that, but the team's practice playlist also featured the Warriors version of E-40's song "*Choices," *which led to a wide array of responses from the Raiders players.