Draft…check. OTA’s…check. Minicamp…check. The Oakland Raiders completed their three day mandatory minicamp in Alameda on June 16. With full participation from all 90 players and an injury free minicamp, the Raiders are looking towards the season on a positive note.
“Guys were locked in, doing a great job. I feel like, again I speak to the leadership part, because up until this week it’s all been voluntary, but we’ve had tremendous participation. Really, everybody’s been here and they don’t have to. It’s a situation, where, we ask them to be here and the commitment level is there. That’s a good thing for our football team,” said second year Head Coach Jack Del Rio, please with the full participation from his team.
Oakland finished last season with a record of 7-9. With the arrival of new faces on both sides of the ball via the draft and free agency, the Raiders look to improve that record in 2016. Oakland lost key leaders Charles Woodson and Justin Tuck to retirement this offseason but from the talent they still possess and the newly acquired pieces, Coach Del Rio is optimistic about where the team is heading.
“I think the veterans have done a great job of stepping up with that leadership part. It’s one of the questions we had coming into this offseason, right? Who is going to replace ‘C-Wood’ (Charles Woodson)? Who is going to replace Justin Tuck? We had guys stepping forward. Khalil Mack and Derek (Carr), obviously, two guys that are stepping forward, but guys like Bruce Irvin, guys like Sean Smith, Rodney (Hudson), those guys have been filling that void and doing a great job.”
During their final day of minicamp the team took the field and looked crisp and in sync. For the first team reps, starting quarterback Derek Carr connected with wide receivers Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and rookie Johnny Holton. Carr also completed passes to his tight ends Mychal Rivera and Clive Walford. The running attack also looked focused as running backs Latavius Murray, George Atkinson III and Taiwan Jones made their cuts and got out to the open field.
Oakland’s defense, which ranked 22nd in the National Football League last season, made upgrades to their roster over the last three months. Guys like Bruce Irvin, Reggie Nelson and Sean Smith are new faces on the defensive side and had an impact at minicamp, while familiar faces Khalil Mack, David Amerson and Mario Edwards Jr look to continue to punish offenses this season. Overall the defense was swift and aggressive in their drills.
Special teams put in work and punter Marquette King was on point with his punts sending them deep down the field. Camp came to a close with a thunderous ovation as backup kicker Giorgio Tavecchio drilled a long field goal to end minicamp. Tavecchio is entering his second season with the team, which also still has veteran kicker Sabastian Janikowski on their roster. The Raiders will have a month off with training camp set to begin in late July in Napa.