Defensive End Denico Autry
Heading into 2016, one of the perceived strengths of the Oakland Raiders is the defensive line, and its combined ability to get after the quarterback.
With defensive end Khalil Mack and linebacker Bruce Irvin rushing from the edge, in addition to a healthy Mario Edwards Jr., and rookie Jihad Ward, the Silver and Black figure to boast an impressive defensive front in the upcoming season. The group got even deeper Friday when defensive lineman Denico Autry was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform List (PUP) and hit the field for his first practice of Training Camp 2016.
"I was just happy to be back man, pads or not," said Autry. "Happy to come back and practice with the guys."
The Mississippi State-product is now entering his third season as a Raider, and after appearing in eight games in 2014, he saw a big uptick in his playing time and production last season, particularly over the second half of the season.
Autry started the final seven games of the 2015 campaign, and in addition to his 29 total tackles, he proved to be an impressive asset on special teams, leading the NFL with three blocked kicks.
The physical lineman has the ability to be versatile – which must be music to defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr's ears – and his ability to move around the defensive front will make the Raiders' defensive line all the more potent.
Autry missed the duration of the team's Offseason Workout Program, and while being out an extended period of time proved challenging, he now has the ability to be a valuable addition in 2016, and is looking forward to making up for lost time.
"It was tough man, had a little setback, but you know I got to keep scrapping every day to get back to where I was at and get better," Autry said. "I've been in the playbook a lot, film, [the coaching staff] lets us take the iPads with us, so I've pretty much been in the playbook a lot."
-After back-to-back padded practices, Head Coach Jack Del Rio elected to have Friday's session be a shorter one, cutting practice down by about 30 minutes and having more periods focused on fundamentals.
"A little lighter day today, intentionally," Coach Del Rio said after practice. "We had two really long, tough practices the last two days, and we'll have two more coming in the next two days going forward. Just being in the middle of the week, day five of a five-day week, we elected to lighten it up a little bit, took them out pads, and put on the light shells, and shortened things up quite a bit."
-In addition to Autry, both rookie safety Karl Joseph and tight end Clive Walford returned to the field Friday after missing Thursday's work. However, running back Taiwan Jones, defensive tackle Leon Orr, and tight end Colton Underwood were unable to practice Friday.
-During his playing days, assistant defensive backs coach Rod Woodson was a prolific return man, fielding 260 punts and 220 kickoffs throughout his 17-year career. Woodson is now sharing his tips of the trade with the Raiders' returners, and Friday afternoon he spent significant time with the punt returners, making slight adjustments to technique, as well as instructing them about the right time to call for a fair catch.
-TE Clive Walford looked to be in good form Friday, hauling in an impressive pass from quarterback Derek Carr down the seam during a period of team drills.
-Cornerback TJ Carrie also put some good work on tape Friday afternoon, jumping a route and returning an interception for touchdown, in addition to tallying multiple passes defensed.
-Wide receiver K.J. Brent also made a positive impression Friday, securing an impressive back-shoulder pass thrown by quarterback Matt McGloin during the team's final period of the day.
-Raiders Preseason Television Play-by-play announcer Beth Mowins was also in the house Friday to take in the Silver and Black's practice. For the second season in a row, she and Matt Millen will be in the booth for the team's three preseason games.
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