It's time for the real action to begin.
After a week of running around in shorts and shells, the pads came on Tuesday morning. With fans in attendance, the Raiders got after it. The physicality was turned up, and now the coaching staff will be able to further evaluate the toughness and talent on their roster. Here are a few notable things that occurred on the first day in pads.
Notes and Observations from Day 6:
- Jimmy Garoppolo looked sharp in Tuesday's practice, making the right read on many of his throws. His short to midfield accuracy has been a delight.
- Of Garoppolo's main targets in practice, the two that stood out to me were Michael Mayer and Cam Sims. It's hard for them not to stand out, considering their size. Sims and Mayer stand at 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-4 respectively, and used their height and build to their full advantage in pads. The defense had to employ multiple people on tackling to get them to the ground.
- Prayers up to the defenders who had to tackle Zamir White on Tuesday. The physical bruiser made his presence felt on every carry, finishing through contact every chance he got.
- Another running back who's continuing to prove themselves is Sincere McCormick. The 2022 UDFA signing showcased his speed throughout the day in team period. This has been a big Training Camp for McCormick, coming off a season-ending injury in last year's offseason program.
- On the offensive line, Netane Muti has jumped out. He has a nastiness to his game in run blocking. The guard started four games for the Denver Broncos in his three seasons there and spent some time on the Raiders practice squad last season.
- Marcus Epps got his hands on a ball or two in coverage Thursday. The chemistry between him, Tre’von Moehrig and Isaiah Pola-Mao seems high.
- On the defensive line, Maxx Crosby continued to meet the standard, getting after the quarterback early and often. He benefited from having Chandler Jones on the other side, who also brought high energy in pads.
- Linebacker Luke Masterson perhaps brought the most physicality on defense to my eye. The second-year player from Wake Forest has enjoyed a productive camp so far.
- Tyler Hall has become a constant at nickel cornerback, seeing a lot of reps at the position throughout camp. He could be in line for a breakout 2023 season, after receiving a 86.3 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus in 2022.
- Tre Tucker is beginning to come into his own as a rookie, seeing some reps returning kickoffs and punts Tuesday. Kick return comes naturally for Tucker, who racked up 1670 kickoff return yards and two kickoff return touchdowns at Cincinnati.
- "Tre's done a great job," said Tom McMahon, special teams coordinator. "He's got a ways to go, we all have ways to go. He's really trying to learn how to catch punts. An NFL punt is one thousand, thousand, thousand percent different than a college punt. ... What I like is he has taken Danny Amendola's coaching, he's taken DC [DeAndre Carter], Hunter [Renfrow], and all of those guys, and he's trying to emulate them because they do it right. He's got the best coach in the league that's done this for many years."
- Ameer Abdullah has continued to be one of a few players to take kickoff and punt return reps, and has set an example for the rest of the unit. The versatile running back averaged nearly 21 yards per kickoff last season. "I take pride in executing when my name is called," said Abdullah. "[I]t's really about the moment, seizing the opportunity and just making sure you're representing yourself the best way. No matter if it's the kickoff, kickoff return, third down, running the ball, for me it's about people remembering me on that play."
Quote of the Day
We have a standard here. Our standard is pretty much competitive stamina. Every play bringing the same mindset, bringing the same physicality time and time again. The team that can do that longer is typically the team that wins. I think that's what our focus needs to be as a team. Ameer Abdullah
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View the best photos from the first 2023 Training Camp practice with pads at Intermountain Health Performance Center.