Ryan Switzer just knows how to score.
Whether it’s as a wide receiver lined up in the slot, or as an electric return man, the former North Carolina Tar Heel, just has a knack for finding the end zone, and now as he enters his first year as an Oakland Raider, the team is hoping he’ll be able to do that in myriad ways.
“We know a lot about Ryan,” said Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia Friday. “He scored in college, he scored in the NFL and he’s competing his rear end off at wide receiver.”
Bisaccia and Switzer were together last year in Dallas, where the current Raiders’ Special Teams Coordinator saw firsthand just how electric Switzer could be as a return man.
“Switz just has the ability to make people miss in space and those guys that have been really good at it,” Bisaccia explained. “I think he’s got seven career return touchdowns in college football and he hit one last year in pro football. Some of those guys that can score, they have a sixth sense to them. Usually if they can make the first one miss and they understand the return, they can get themselves back and help out the block. They’re in control of really, all the blocks as well, bringing all of the blocks to them and then setting them up. He just has a sixth sense for it. He’s done it a long time and he’s scored a lot of touchdowns.”
As Bisaccia mentioned, Switzer – who the Raiders acquired via trade in April – no doubt has the tools to be an elite returner in the NFL, and while that role is one that he’ll likely be asked to fill this year, don’t think of him as just a one-trick pony.
During his college career, Switzer tallied nearly 3,000 receiving yards, and 19 touchdowns, and while he only had 29 receptions during his rookie season as a Cowboy, No. 15 is looking to make a statement this year, and remind everyone that he indeed a quality NFL receiver.
“That’s big for me,” Switzer said when asked about wanting to prove himself as a receiving threat in 2018. “I feel like I need to get back to my ways. I’m a year removed, going on two years removed from being a First-Team All-ACC wide receiver, and setting school records, and I feel like last year that kind of just got thrown by the wayside. Really looking forward to getting back to those ways.”
So, his return abilities aside, what does Switzer do well as a receiver?
“I can win man-to-man, I can win one-on-one, and then I can usually recognize coverages, and find the holes to hit,” Switzer said. “I think those are my strengths, and that’s what I can put to use this year.”
A look at this Raiders’ receiving corps shows a variety of players with differing skills, and with Jordy Nelson, Amari Cooper and Martavis Bryant in the mix, Switzer is looking forward to adding his own little flare to the room.
“I’m really excited to see what we can do this year,” Switzer said. “I’m real excited to play alongside those guys and make some news.”
He went on, “this isn’t just player speak, I really am excited about the opportunity that I have to kind of put myself on the map, to help this team win, and to show people who I really am as a receiver.”
Once again, nothing too exciting to report on this front.
Donald Penn and Eddie Vanderdoes are still on the Active/Physically unable to perform list, and as has been the case the past few days, cornerback Gareon Conley was unable to hit the field either.
Other notable players who didn’t participate in Friday’s session include tackle Brandon Parker, guard Gabe Jackson, tackle Breno Giacomini, and safety Erik Harris.
-Keeping with one of the themes of training camp, there were a few special guests on hand Friday morning at the team’s Napa Valley Training Complex. Today’s special visitors? NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, former Pittsburgh Steeler Ike Taylor, and former San Diego Chargers punter Mike Scifres.
-In addition to that trio, NFL Films was once again back in the mix Friday, as they had all three Raiders’ quarterbacks wired for sound.
-Very quietly, Marshawn Lynch has had a real nice start to his second training camp in Silver and Black. He’s gone about his business day after day, and the veteran running back seems like he has a bit of a pep in his step as of late. Friday was another one of those days, and during one of the team’s seven-on-seven sessions, “The Beast” made two, sharp cuts and then found daylight, heading up field for a nice gain.
-Cornerback Antonio Hamilton made an impressive play during a one-on-one drill where Jordy Nelson tried to get him with a double move, but instead of biting on the fakes, Hamilton stayed home, then proceeded to stretch out his arm and bat down the incoming pass.
-We talk all the time about how the interior of the Raiders’ line is one of the best in the game, and Friday in between drills, center Rodney Hudson spent a few minutes coaching up fellow lineman Jon Feliciano. Depth across the board is paramount to success in the NFL, so it was cool to see the Raiders’ Pro Bowl center sharing his knowledge with his teammates.
-Speaking of the interior line, this isn’t a highlight, more just your daily reminder that Kelechi Osemele has been outstanding this training camp. He’s been dominant in one-on-ones, and has looked very much like the All-Pro guard that he is.
-We talked about Chris Warren III a little bit yesterday, and the rookie running back made his presence felt again today, getting out in space, and showing that he’s a hard guy to take down. Like I said, I’m excited to see him when the Silver and Black play host to the Detroit Lions on August 10.
“I’d say the one young guy in [Dallin] Leavitt. We’re putting him in a lot of positions and he’s doing a lot of good things for us as a young player. Arden Key has kind of moved around on the punt and doing a good job. And then, I call him ‘Big Shaq’, 91 [Shilique Calhoun], been putting him in a lot of different positions and he’s responded really well also.” -Rich Bisaccia on the players who have impressed him so far in training camp.
The Lighter Side:
Friday’s practice was once again up to select season-ticket members, and right before practice started, a family of Raiders’ fans entered; upon seeing Amari Cooper, the little girl turned to her dad an exclaimed, ‘look Dad, it’s Cooper!’
Definitely a cool a moment to see firsthand, I’ll say that.
With today’s on-field session now in the books, the Raiders will return to work tomorrow afternoon before their mandated off-day Sunday.
After that, they’ll practice Monday, before welcoming in the Detroit Lions Tuesday.