We've finally made it to the end of the road at Oakland Raiders 2019 Training Camp, which means the regular season is just around the corner.
Sunday afternoon, the Raiders were back on the practice field in Napa, Calif., following their 33-26 road victory over the Arizona Cardinals. The pads were on and the energy was high as the team wanted to cap off training camp on a positive note.
The Silver and Black have come a long way over the last three-and-a-half weeks, and we've seen a lot of growth from several notable players on the roster. Whether it's been an established veteran like quarterback Mike Glennon, or rookie safety Johnathan Abram, players throughout the roster have shown glimpses of how special this group can be when they're collectively working toward the same goal.
Abram specifically has been a bright spot among his teammates and the coaching staff. While No. 24 is certainly outspoken, he backs it up with his play on the field, and through two preseason games, he's shown a keen nose for locating the football. Before practice Sunday, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and linebacker Vontaze Burfict shared what they've seen from the former Mississippi State Bulldog over the last month.
"He has an extreme confidence," Burfict said. "I love it though because he shows it. He shows it in film room and film study. Like today, we had a play and he opened his mouth up and obviously said something in front of the defense that kind of gave me the chills. I don't want to say it because it's kind of just in-house, but he's going to be a great player for us."
"I just think he's wise beyond his years," Guenther added. "He doesn't act like a rookie. When he's out there, he sounds like a seven or eight-year vet. I think the players take notice of that. Just how he prepares, how he studies, how he communicates with the guys on and off the field. The thing is not too big for him. The players see that. He doesn't act like your typical rookie. That's what I would say jumps out to me."
Abram, as well as several other members of the Raiders' rookie class, hasn't demonstrated any trepidation towards NFL competition, and soon he'll be able to go full speed considering Week 1 is just three weeks away — wild.
Fellow first-round pick Clelin Ferrell has also been a standout through two preseason games, demonstrating a high motor and great pursuit of the quarterback. The former Clemson Tiger has experienced some growing pains — like any rookie — but Guenther stressed that the mistakes he's made thus far are easily correctable and will be cleaned up.
"I think he did a lot better in that second game," Guenther said. "Really. He almost chased a guy down on that boot. That guy can run. He did a good job. A couple of times his hands got a little bit too high. Got hands to their face. That's easy stuff to clean up. He looked a lot better in this ball game."
The Raiders will have a few more days to regroup at the team's facility in Alameda, Calif., before departing for Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada to face the Green Bay Packers for their third matchup of the preseason. Head Coach Jon Gruden and General Manager Mike Mayock have shared how pleased they've been with the progress the team has made over the last month, and they feel as though this team can do something special.
We'll just have to wait and see.
-Solid day of work for the offense, as well as the defense, but Hunter Renfrow and the wide receivers made some quality plays this afternoon.
-Tight end Darren Waller is a playmaker on the field, but he's also an incredible dancer off of it. The man was overcome by the sound of Bad and Boujee by Migos and had to take the opportunity to dance.
-Wide receiver Tyrell Williams was present at practice today, but not an active participant. Just taking a day of rest, but he spent the afternoon on the sideline speaking with General Manager Mike Mayock.
-Defensive back Keisean Nixon has had a good camp so far, and ended it on a high note, hauling in an interception during a friendly scrimmage.
General Manager took a moment during practice to address the media about Antonio Brown's absence Sunday.
"You all know that AB is not here today, right? So here's the bottom line; he's upset about the helmet issue. We have supported that. We appreciate that, okay? But at this point, we've pretty much exhausted all avenues of relief. So from our perspective, it's time for him to be all-in, or all-out, okay? We're hoping he's back soon. We've got 89 guys busting their tails. We are really excited about where this franchise is going, and we hope AB is going to be a big part of it starting Week 1 against Denver. End of story. No questions."
The Raiders will break camp Monday and return to 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway before taking off for Canada.
Kickoff against the Packers is Thursday at 5 p.m. PT; don't miss it.