Tuesday was several things for the Oakland Raiders.
It was Head Coach Jon Gruden’s team’s second padded practice of training camp. It was the final practice before the team’s league-mandated day off Wednesday, and it was also the day that we saw the most out of Antonio Brown since the team arrived in Napa.
Now, was business as “boomin’” as I’m sure, Brown would have liked it to be?
Likely not, as the seven-time Pro Bowler didn’t participate in the full team periods of Monday’s practice, but nevertheless, it was encouraging to see Brown get in the mix and go through one-on-one drills – even if it was for an abbreviated time.
“He [Brown] is getting close, and hopefully after the day off tomorrow he’ll get closer, but we need him on the grass,” said Gruden following Tuesday’s session. “We need him to get going, and he’s chomping at the bit. He’s not a real patient guy, and hopefully it’ll be sooner than later.”
As far as the specifics of what is currently ailing Mr. Big Chest, and a concrete timetable on his return to practice in totality, Gruden wasn’t quite yet willing to divulge.
“I’m not going to get into all of it really,” he explained. “He’s day to day. It’s nothing serious, but it’s something that’s going to take a couple of days.”
And while Brown has yet to go through a full training camp practice, even his limited time on the field – and what he has brought off of it – has already yielded positive dividends for the Silver and Black, on both sides of the ball.
“He’s a different level,” cornerback Gareon Conley said. “His résumé speaks for itself. Ten years, or whatever he’s been in now, and he’s been at the highest level, so his résumé speaks for itself. He’s always working. I’m sure you guys follow him on Instagram and stuff. He’s always working. I made a joke to him. I’m like, ‘Man, you must be saving your videos and then posting them all types of the day because there’s no way you’re up at 12 o’clock at night working. His work ethic is crazy.”
“You’re going to get the best every day he comes to work,” added rookie Trayvon Mullen. “He’s going to push you. You know what to look for… you’re going to be at your best.”
Before Brown was shut down for the day, No. 84 unsurprisingly provided a few highlight reel-type plays during one-on-ones, and while he didn’t come down with every ball that went his way, it became pretty obvious what type of talent – even at less than 100 percent – he has at his disposal.
“It’s going to make them all better,” Gruden said when asked about AB going against particular defensive backs during practice. “We’re going to try to isolate matchups every day, sometimes you’ll come out here and see Conley with Antonio, Conley with Tyrell [Williams], Conley with [Hunter] Renfrow, whoever. We’re trying to see certain matchups, and I think the competition has helped everybody get better.”
And in addition to the catches, touchdowns, and defensive focus, that was another reason the Raiders ultimately acquired Brown in March – he’s one of the handfuls of guys in the league who makes every player – both offensive and defensive – on the roster better.
-Outside of AB, no real updates on the injury front, although Coach Gruden did say that he expects rookie defensive end Quinton Bell to be back to work within a week or ten days.
-The Silver and Black waived tight end Erik Swoope and defensive tackle Ronald Ollie and signed defensive tackle Ethan Westbrooks Monday morning. Westbrooks – who was most recently with the Los Angeles Rams – went through the day’s work with his new team. He’s wearing No. 63.
-Do you want to get fired up for the day? Just talk to Luke Willson. As the Silver and Black were preparing for practice, Willson was going around, getting his teammates hyped up, and yelled, “it’s easy to love Day 1, you have to love Day 4.” Well said, Mr. Willson. Well said.
-An aspect of Derek Carr’s game that I feel like has gone underappreciated for too long, is his ability to draw defenses offsides, and he flashed that very skill Tuesday getting the defense to bite, earning his group a hypothetical five yards.
-Trayon Mullen flashed the type of ability that resulted in him being picked No. 40 overall in this year’s NFL draft. During a seven-on-seven period of practice, Mullen leapt up and batted down a ball, that if he hadn’t connected on, would have been a sure-fire touchdown. The rookie might not talk a lot, but the same doesn’t go for his game.
-It seems like day after day, Darren Waller just keeps making plays, and Tuesday was no exception to that rule, as No. 83 had a really impressive grab over a defensive back draped all over him during 11-on-11.
-While all eyes have been on Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams has quietly had a really strong start to camp. Through four days, it seems like everything thrown his way has been caught, and No. 16 has even had a few chances to show off his moves once the ball is in his hand.
-Tuesday was another solid day for Daniel Carlson. The second-year kicker went four of five during his kicking portion of practice.
-Practice ended with a one-on-one competition period between the offense and defense. Arden Key and Brandon Parker squared off in a best-of-three competition, with Parker coming out the victor. As a result, the Raiders defense ran a few sprints as punishment.
-Following the conclusion of practice, Coach Gruden – in conjunction with Dick’s Sporting Goods and the Raiders players and coaches – presented five local high schools with $5,000 each.
“Well, we had five high schools that we donated money to today,” Gruden said. “Dick’s Sporting Goods, Raiders players and coaches, we kicked in and people are trying to cancel youth football. They are trying to cancel youth sports, boys and girls sports. There are a lot of geniuses out there that believe youth sports should be canceled. I’m not one of them, so we are trying to support these coaches. Every year they get paid less, their budget gets reduced and the expectations on them become higher, so credit to our coaches and players and Dick’s Sporting Goods for trying to give five high school programs a lift because these kids want to play and they deserve to play.”
Karl Joseph talking about the addition of linebacker Vontaze Burfict:
“Man, it’s like night and day. I think we needed somebody like him coming in and being the middle of that defense. You know, a leader, a captain. You know, he’s played in this defense for a long time with coach Paul. So you know, he knows this defense. So you know, it’s good to have him in there.”
Tweet of the Day:
The Raiders will enjoy a well-deserved off day on Wednesday, before returning to work Thursday.