Mandatory minicamp has opened for all National Football League teams. On Tuesday, June 12 the Oakland Raiders opened theirs at Raiders Headquarters in Alameda. It was the first mandatory team organized event of the season.
A new era of Raiders football has begun with the return of familiar head coach Jon Gruden, getting back to the sidelines. Gruden coached the Raiders from 1998 to 2001 and has spent the last nine years working for ESPN on Monday Night Football. Gruden’s return has been a hot topic around the league and has given Raider Nation something to cheer about. Since Gruden’s departure in 2001 the Raiders have made the postseason just twice.
Although it is “mandatory mini-camp” a large absence loomed over Alameda as all-pro defensive end Khali Mack announced earlier in the week that he is officially holding out until the team restructures his contract. Mack, who is still under his rookie contract, is seeking a long term deal with the team and is willing to sit out minicamp and the foreseeable future until he gets what he believes he is worth.
“One of the big reasons I came here was to coach that man,” Coach Gruden said at his press conference following day one of minicamp. “I don’t want to speculate. There are a lot of guys in the league, several players in a similar situation. We’re just trying to resolve it as soon as possible and in the meantime coach the players that are here.”
Those who were in attendance made an impact on the field. Quarterback Derek Carr was slinging the ball to familiar wide receivers Amari Cooper and Seth Roberts, as well as new weapons Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant. Oakland’s backfield will be interesting to see how it plays out this summer. With Marshawn Lynch set to be the starter, it is unclear who will be next on the depth chart. This offseason they brought in Doug Martin from Tampa Bay and drafted Chris Warren III of Texas. They also have DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard, both of whom saw their fair share of carries this past season for Oakland.
Special teams got a major makeover this offseason as punter Marquett King was cut and signed with division rival Denver. Rookie Johnny Townsend is the only punter on the Raiders current roster. Longtime place kicker Sebastian Janikowski also left town and is on the Seattle Seahawks roster. This leaves Giorgio Tavecchio and rookie Eddy Pineiro on the roster. The two will do battle throughout the summer for the kicker position.
Minutes before day one of minicamp began the team released quarterback Christian Hackenberg.