From late-July to mid-August, Napa’s official colorway is Silver and Black, but Tuesday morning, that colorway showed just the tiniest bit of Honolulu Blue.
After two-plus weeks of facing off against only each other during training camp, the Oakland Raiders welcomed Head Coach Matt Patricia and the Detroit Lions for a pair of joint practices before the two teams open the preseason Friday night at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
“It was nice to see some new coverages, some different stuff, especially to just go throw out there, and just see, oh, that’s what they’re playing,” said Derek Carr after practice. “It was fun. It was good for us. It will be good film, honestly, the best part about this was going out there, you compete, you do your best, but going and studying the film, and seeing, oh, that’s what that looks like. They play that like this kind of deal; it’ll be good for us to get that, and then come out tomorrow and see what we can do better.”
The three-hour session between the two squads looked really similar to what we’ve grown accustomed to over the past several weeks: goal line periods, a session of one-on-one, seven-on-seven drills, and then a time of the two team’s playing 11-on-11.
“A lot of things happened today, both good and bad things, that we needed to have happen, that we haven’t had happen in practice yet to where we can say, hey, we need to figure that out this way, or we need to handle [this] this way, so I was very pleased with how it went,” Carr explained.
As Carr stated, there was a lot of good that came from Tuesday’s work – the play of the Raiders’ wideouts sticks out – but, as is the case during any practice, there was indeed some things to improve upon going forward.
For No. 4 and the rest of the Raiders’ quarterbacks, ball security had been top notch throughout training camp; Carr had been deliberate with his passes, and excluding an errant throw on Day 1, both Connor Cook and EJ Manuel had been on top of their games in that regard as well.
However, the Lions’ defensive backs got the best of Carr, and then Manuel on back-to-back snaps, forcing a pair of interceptions, in the first of the two joint sessions.
“Hadn’t had one and then had the one that Slay ended up catching. I was hoping that it hit the ground,” Carr recounted when asked about the interception. “He was in zone coverage and found my guy on a scramble drill in the zone, him and I were just on a different page and [Lions cornerback] [Darius] Slay ends up – because he’s a good player – with an interception. It is what it is. But, the fact that we haven’t had one up until now in the first group against [defensive coordinator] Coach Guenther’s defense, means that we’re really well prepared.”
Now, to be fair, the Raiders definitely got the best of the Lions at times on Tuesday, and that back and forth, was not only good for the respective teams, but it allowed for an increase in intensity as well.
“I’m such the middle linebacker mentality like ‘let’s go!’ but I had to take a deep breath,” Carr said. “Just need to do my job, I don’t get to hit anybody. I have a red jersey on. It was a good moment for me to get back into my rhythm like ‘oh wait, I have to be calm.’ Everyone else can be excited.”
Okay, so no real surprising additions to the injury report, but we did see the return of some familiar faces, as Gabe Jackson, Erik Harris, DeAndré Washington, and Karl Joseph all got back to work today.
-Boy, we had a lot going on this morning, so let’s see if we can recap all the folks who were in the house to watch the Raiders and Lions work… Former Raider – and Pro Bowl Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle – Warren Sapp was in attendance Tuesday, working with the Silver and Black’s defensive line throughout the morning session.
-Speaking of former players, Rich Gannon was also in Napa to watch the Raiders and Lions hit the field. Gannon, who is now a part of the team’s preseason television broadcast was joined by Matt Millen and Beth Mowins. The trio will broadcast all four of the Raiders’ preseason tilts, beginning this Friday night. Oh, and right as practice wrapped up, the new play-by-play announcer for the team’s radio broadcast, Brent Musburger arrived at the team’s Napa Valley Training Complex.
-From my informal survey, there was one Lions’ fan in the house, and boy, did he make sure people knew he was there. Give the man credit, while his attempt at getting a “Let’s Go Lions” chant fell on deaf ears, it certainly wasn’t because of a lack of effort on his part.
-Alright, on to the football stuff; like we said earlier, with 90 additional players in the mix, there was no doubt an increased level of energy on the field throughout the three-hour session, most noticeably when the two team’s went one-on-one.
-Speaking of one-on-ones… During one of the aforementioned sessions, Martavis Bryant and Ryan Switzer absolutely dominated a pair of Lions’ defensive backs, burning their respective shadows easily, much to the delight of the assembled crowd.
-Here’s your daily note about the dominance of the Raiders’ interior offensive line. During a period of practice, the Lions’ defensive line went one-on-one with the Silver and Black’s big fellas up front, and Rodney Hudson gave defensive tackle Toby Johnson an absolute education in pass protection. We talk all the time about just how good the trio of Hudson, Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson is, but I have to say, it’s a whole different beast seeing them go against guys from other teams.
-Bruce Irvin has enjoyed a stellar training camp; not only has he been the team’s best edge rusher, but he’s taken an even more vocal role on the defense too. That said, I don’t think there was a louder, or more encouraging, Raider on the field today than No. 51. From whistle to whistle, Irvin was getting after it, and I have to be honest, hearing him yelling and screaming made me want to strap on a pair of pads and get to work.
“Just his level from where he got here to where he is now, he’s really pick it up, he has. You can definitely tell that he has a sense of urgency for him to pick things up and learn them. He wants to do right, he really does. To see that in him, to see him continue, he always practices hard, that’s never a question. He’s going to practice hard. And usually that’s the hardest part to get someone to practice hard, but he is.” – Derek Carr discussing Martavis Bryant’s process of picking up the offense.
The Lighter Side:
With close to 200 players, and two sperate coaching staffs all at work at the same time, real estate was understandably at a premium. Because of this, the kickers kicked towards the locker room – a direction they don’t usually kick towards – and because of that, several members of the equipment staff shimmied onto the roof of said locker room to shag their kicks.
I feel like I have to say this; no one got hurt during this exercise.
The Raiders and Lions will strap the pads back on tomorrow to finish up their second day of practice together, and then following a Thursday off day, the two will meet to open the preseason Friday night at the OACC.