The Oakland Raiders completed their Organized Team Activities (OTAs) Thursday afternoon. After three weeks of on-field sessions, the players have seen improvements on offense, defense and special teams and are looking forward to the mandatory mini-camp next week.
“We got a chance to implement the playbook with new faces coming from various places, young, old,” said veteran RB Rashad Jennings. “We’re meshing together. We’re all hearing the same terminology now, getting on the same page, hearing the same language, the same alerts, watching the same film repetitively. We’re meshing together and syncing into a great offense, defense and special teams.”
The offense has gotten to know each other throughout OTAs. The wide receivers, running backs and tight ends are starting to get their timing down with the quarterbacks and increase comfort level. “Progress…we got better as time went on,” said second-year WR Rod Streater. “It was a little shaky in the beginning but that’s with a new offense and a new quarterback. As time went on, I feel like we finished strong. [The offense is] understanding each other. We’re getting our timing routes down and it’s just going to take a little more time to get to where we need to be.”
Thirteen-year veteran DE Andre Carter was happy with the progress made. “It was a good productive three weeks,” said Carter. “I think we made a lot of strides as far as where we want to be. We definitely have a long way to go, but overall, the younger guys work hard and just as a team as a whole we did well.”
Carter has spent time helping the rookies get more comfortable on the field and in the meeting rooms. “I think, in general, you always poke fun at the younger guys, especially when you’re an old head,” said Carter. “It keeps you young, and it keeps the game fun. I’m always wanting to help because I want to see them succeed just as I’ve been successful my whole career.”
Most of the players have been learning an entirely new playbook. “I think, me personally, I’ve come a long way in terms of learning the playbook and going out there and playing fast,” said RB Jeremy Stewart. “I think the team has gotten a lot better. I think we’ve improved each day and that’s the only thing you can ask for.”
The off-season workouts, OTAs and mini-camps are about progress. “We have a bunch of professionals here that want to succeed,” said Jennings. “We’ve got a bunch of professionals here that are competing. With that, you’re always going to see progress.”
As the team heads into mandatory mini-camp, the players want to build on the progress made over the past three weeks. “For me personally, it’s pretty much the same thing, just learning the scheme, understanding technique and understanding the philosophy of the defense as well as the offensive side of the ball and special teams,” Carter said.
The guys want to finish strong heading into their off-season break. “Hopefully we can come in and have a good week and see a good end result,” said Stewart. “[We want to] put something good on film to feel good about the month we have off.”
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