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Training Camp Notebook 8/17: Darren Waller is still Darren Waller


The Las Vegas Raiders practice Tuesday morning was off the heels of a convincing preseason victory 20-7 over the Seattle Seahawks.

There were a lot of positives behind the practice, with several new and familiar faces getting back on the field after missing time throughout Training Camp. The Raiders should have a good amount of momentum going into their joint practices and preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams this week.

Here's a few observations from the Raiders' Tuesday practice.

D-Wall returns

There was a lot of speculation around the absence of Darren Waller from practice. Head Coach Jon Gruden stated that Waller was being rested and the team was just being extra cautious with the tight end.

Waller returned to practice and it was like he never missed a beat. He looked healthy and was running quick routes, catching everything that came his way from his quarterbacks. In my eyes, today's practice put to rest any speculation about his health and commitment to the team. Waller returning to practice put a big smile on his head coach's face.

"He was great today," said Gruden. "He makes his presence felt right away after the catch down the field. He's a phenomenal talent."

Defense continuing to reload

Another observation was the return of two defensive players that have been out all camp.

Rookie linebacker Divine Deablo and cornerback Isaiah Johnson returned to practice Tuesday after being on the PUP list since OTAs. The defense has a lot invested in the two young players. Johnson flashed some glimpses of greatness last year in his last second heroic performance in Los Angeles, and Deablo was the Raiders' third-round pick that has been switched from strong safety to linebacker. Deablo immediately saw a large number of snaps today in practice, but Coach Gruden said they will ease him into things to round out the rest of the preseason.

"We're really encouraged with Divine. He had an injury that we feared was worse than it was," said Gruden "And I give him a lot of credit, while we were all on vacation having a good time, he was here two-a-days, rehabbing, and he's ready to go. We are going to protect him here for the next four or five days as he gets acclimated to pads, but there is a good chance you may see him against the 49ers.

"And Isaiah, the same thing. We're going to kind of put the boat in the water these next few days and hopefully get him on the grass against San Francisco in that last preseason game."

Stock rising for Trey 'Vegas' Ragas

Trey Ragas has been one of my sleeper players to make the 53-man roster throughout Training Camp. And after his 62 rushing yards, one touchdown performance against the Seahawks – people have woken up on him.

The rookie running back again was the making the most out of his carries in practice today. While Jacobs and Drake's places in this offense are solidified, Ragas was seen getting more work than usual today at practice. No. 36 has been making the most out of his opportunities with Jalen Richard being out, and should continue to get plenty more looks going into this week's game against the Rams. Ragas is competing for a roster spot with B.J. Emmons, who also had a good game against the Seahawks with 45 rushing yards and a touchdown.

"They are talking about those young running backs, you ought to talk about Tim Berbenich, the running backs coach. He did a helluva job with those young guys," said Gruden. "Both of them really are getting better and this will be another test though this week. They'll see some different blitzes and some different kinds of looks."

View director of photography Michael Clemens' top picks of black and white photos from the Raiders' preseason Week 1 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks at Allegiant Stadium.

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