The Raiders held their first practice of a three-day mandatory mini-camp Tuesday. The mandatory mini-camp is the last opportunity for the team to practice together on the field before training camp begins July 25 at their Napa Valley Training Complex.
Head Coach Dennis Allen has been pleased with how his team has progressed throughout the off-season. “I know we’ve got a lot of work to do, but the way our guys are working, we’re going to get to where we need to be,” said Coach Allen during his post-practice press conference.
One of the areas Coach Allen wants to see improvement is in consistency. “I thought at times we executed well. We made some plays both offensively and defensively, but the consistency with which we have to execute on a day-in and day-out basis we have to continue to work on,” explained Coach Allen. “But the good thing is, is guys are out there, they’re competing; they’re working. They’re doing everything that we’re asking them to do to continue to get better. We have a long time before we have to open up and play a game that counts for real. Overall, I was pleased, but we still have a lot of getting better to do.”
QB Matt Flynn noticed growth in his offense, but also recognized the work that still needs to get done. “We still have a lot of work to do and that’s something we all know and we are all striving to do,” said Flynn. “There are guys putting in a lot of hours around this place right now trying to get there. We got a lot of work to do and we are going to keep doing it.”
The players expect mistakes to happen during the off-season and are learning from them. “That’s what OTAs and mini-camps are for,” said FB Marcel Reece. “I feel like all the quarterbacks made some plays today and it says nowhere in the playbook that a quarterback has to be perfect, or anyone has to be perfect. As playmakers, we have to go out there and help them and make plays for them and get the timing together.”
The offense and defense made plays during practice, fostering good-natured competition and development. “Obviously, the defense is doing some things and the offense is trying to put a lot on the table and kind of see what sticks before we get to training camp. It’s a process for all of us. We’re going through it and it’s good,” said QB Tyler Wilson. “I think we made plays on both sides of the ball today. You see the offense, sometimes it wasn’t pretty, but we made plays. And then on the other side, you see the defense doing the same thing. So, anytime there’s competition on both sides of the ball, and it’s that type of mentality, you’re getting better.”
Rookie LB Sio Moore, although new to the mandatory mini-camp process, feels good about the work accomplished thus far. “The D-line is working their tails off and everybody is working on both sides. I’m kind of excited about what we have and what we’re working towards because, right now, we’re laying the foundation of something really special,” said Moore. “The foundation with any side of the ball, if you look at offense and defense, it starts with the big guys up front. I’m glad to see that they’re working. When the defensive line does well, that makes everybody else do well. The same way with offensive lines doing well, then you can do anything.”
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