Cornerback TJ Carrie knocks the ball away from rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper and claims our Play of the Day. Photo by Tony Gonzales/Raiders.com.
The Oakland Raiders hit the field at their Napa Valley Training Complex for the penultimate practice of Training Camp 2015 as the team prepares to travel to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Vikings in Preseason Week 2 action at TCF Bank Stadium.
Nothing came easy today as defensive backs ripped the ball out of would-be receivers hands and the defensive line jammed up every conceivable running lane. A former Raiders player who can appreciate such stout defense was on hand to take in practice. Kirk Morrison visited the Napa Valley Marriott as part of his FOX Sports training camp tour.
"It's been a long time, still looks the same, a lot more stands out here, but the feeling is still the same," Morrison said. "A lot of positive buzz. I think before it was a lot of unknown, and I think this year is more of a known, some of the players who you're actually seeing play, you're watching them kind of grow. The foundation I think has already been set, and now you're just starting to see pieces get added to it now."
Morrison, who played for Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio in Jacksonville, said that the 102 years of playing experience on the team's coaching staff makes a difference.
"I think guys believe now, you believe because you're seeing coaches who didn't just play in the league, we're talking about guys who won Super Bowls, who played in Pro Bowls, All-Pros, that's the difference," Morrison said. "Not a guy who was just a former player, these are guys who made a difference and an impact on this league on how they even play the game. So, I think it's just huge."
Former Raiders defensive backs coach, longtime NFL and college assistant coach Ron Lynn was also in the house today. He was impressed with what he saw.
"I'm excited to see these guys practice, it's fun to see the tempo they've got going, there's almost a collegiate type spirit about it, there's a lot of enthusiasm. At this time normally in training camp you don't get a lot of that," Lynn said. "These guys look like they're different, they're probably feeling good about where they are and what their prospects are."
Here are today's practice observations**:
Practice opened with a lengthy special teams period featuring punt return, punt block and protection, before the full team stretch.
Fullback Jamize Olawale, running back Roy Helu, Jr., and linebacker Sio Moore were working with trainers. Tight end Clive Walford and wide receiver Andre Holmes missed practice. According to published reports, Holmes will miss three-to-six weeks with a fractured hand.
Rookie cornerback Dexter McDonald broke up a pass intended for wide receiver Seth Roberts.
Wide receiver Milton Williams III made a nice move breaking back to the ball and made the grab.
Running back Trent Richardson picked up good yardage on a tough inside run he bounced to the outside. He showed some shake-n-bake in the open field.
Running back Michael Dyer showed his speed as he bounced a run to the outside.
Those two runs were the exception as the defense made several stops at the point of attack during a full team running play session.
Linebacker Horace Miller dropped running back George Atkinson III in the backfield and the play got the defense fired up.
During 7-on-7, quarterback Derek Carr made a nice back-shoulder throw to a wide-open tight end Mychal Rivera down the right sideline.
During one-on-one pass rush drills, rookie defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. dropped his left shoulder and flew past rookie tackle Anthony Morris.
During 7-on-7, quarterback Christian Ponder rifled completions to wide receivers Brice Butler and Kenbrell Thompkins.
Quarterback Matt McGloin hooked up with rookie wide receiver Josh Harper on a deep out.
Punter Marquette King showed off his wheels as he sprinted for the pylon during a botched field goal drill.
Running back Trent Richardson found daylight to the outside during the final team period and showed off some speed in the open field.
Play of the Day
Second-year cornerback TJ Carrie got physical with rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper coming over the top and fighting through Cooper's arms to knock a pass away.