Rookie WR Amari Cooper turned in the Play of the Day with this one-handed catch during one-on-one drills. Photo by Tony Gonzales/Raiders.com.
The Oakland Raiders kicked off the last week of Training Camp 2015 at their Napa Valley Training Complex with a late Tuesday afternoon practice. Cooler temps and a nice breeze were refreshing as the team practiced with good energy and enthusiasm.
Frank Schwab from Yahoo! Sports' Shutdown Corner column was in the house today. He echoed what Raiders TV play-by-play announcer Beth Mowins said heading into the preseason opener last Friday night.
"I think it's that there's hope. This is the most excited people have been about the Raiders in awhile, not just Derek Carr but Khalil Mack, then you add pieces like [Michael]Crabtree,[Amari] Cooper, Latavius Murray getting a shot, it seems like a younger team, a better team, there's a lot of good free agents that came in," Schwab said. "Now, there's a lot of excitement and a lot of hope here."
Schwab enjoyed his visit to Napa and noted the uniqueness of the Raiders training camp environment.
"It's nice, it's kind of different, it's very beautiful up here, you don't expect there to be a training camp in the middle of it," Schwab said. "Raiders fans are as good as it gets, as good as the Steelers, the Packers. Of all the teams I write about, I always hear from the Raiders fans, it's great, it's a cool crowd, cool atmosphere."
Here are today's practice observations:
Even in individual warm-ups defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., was preaching taking the ball away and getting more footballs out of ball carriers hands.
Running backs Trent Richardson, Michael Dyer and George Atkinson III looked fast and found running room on outside runs. These three have been taking advantage of their opportunities with Roy Helu, Jr., sidelined. The next couple of preseason games will be key showcases.
Trent Richardson returned kickoffs along with Trindon Holliday, Michael Dyer and Taiwan Jones.
Quarterback Derek Carr put wide receiver Michael Crabtree to work in 7-on-7 with three completions in a row including a deep one over the middle.
The offense went up-tempo and worked no-huddle in the final team period.
Defensive end Shelby Harris picked off a deflected pass and fumbled it back to the offense – an alert wide receiver Brice Butler scooped it up. Nice job by Harris to get the pick but he needs to learn to secure the ball.
Cornerback DJ Hayden made a nice play breaking up a pass intended for wide receiver Amari Cooper. Working against Cooper and Crabtree every day in practice can only help the third-year corner.
Wide receiver Seth Roberts batted the ball back to prevent a touchback on a punter Marquette King punt, and safety Larry Asante downed it at the 4-yard line. If King can master the art of dropping the ball inside the 10, and now that Taiwan Jones is healthy, the Raiders could really have something on special teams.
Play of the Day
Rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper made a one-handed catch in one-on-one drills. It was so smooth it looked routine.This seems to be an everyday occurrence.