The Oakland Raiders concluded their off-season activities with their final mandatory mini-camp practice Thursday. The players will have about a month off before returning for the start of training camp July 25.
Head Coach Dennis Allen was pleased with the three weeks of Organized Team Activities and one week of mandatory mini-camp. “I thought this was a good camp. I thought OTAs, I thought we improved. I thought we got better,” said Coach Allen. “I like this football team. I like their mentality. I like where we’re at. I like the way they’re working. Obviously, we’re going to give them some time off before we go to training camp, but I think we’re all anxious to get there and get the pads on and really see what we’ve got.”
Coach Allen knows the team is not where it needs to be yet, but sees the potential for success come regular season. “I’ve been pleased with the work that these guys have put in and obviously, we’re not the finished product,” Coach Allen said. “We still have a lot of improvement to do, but I wouldn’t say that’s a whole lot different than any of the other 31 teams. But I like their mentality and I like the way that they work.”
That mentality stems from the team leaders including RB Darren McFadden on offense and DB Charles Woodson on defense. “I really see a new attitude from where they’ve been previously,” said Woodson. “You’ve got a head coach who’s in his second year and he’s trying to establish that winning mindset around here. So, bringing a lot of new guys in and just trying to set the tone for the guys out there on the practice field as far as our work ethic and making sure that every play you’re out there busting your tail and playing like you’re going to win every game.”
McFadden is sensing leadership qualities coming from his quarterbacks too. “I feel like all of those guys have been doing a great job,” said the veteran running back. “They come in and they take control of the huddle and get guys in the right position. They make the right reads they have to make for the defense, so I feel like they have all been doing a great job. I’m just looking forward to seeing the competition in training camp and getting out there with them.”
McFadden also sees the improvement on the defensive side of the ball. “Man, just being out there with them I can tell you they are going to present a lot of problems for people,” said McFadden. “Just seeing them out here in OTAs and in training camp, they have been moving around, flying around to the ball, so I’m looking forward to that.”
The offense and defense will have to wait a month to see what everyone can really do when the pads are put on in training camp. Until then, the players will go their separate ways and continue to prepare for the next step. “We spoke to them a little bit this morning about [their time off] and we all understand we put a lot of work into this and this is a time of year that we have to mind our Ps and Qs and make sure that we do the right things,” said Coach Allen. “Come back to training camp in shape. Come back to training camp mentally and physically ready to go.”
Staying mentally and physically prepared is exactly what Woodson will do during the team’s break. “I work and prepare myself to be ready when training camp comes, so I can hit the ground running,” said Woodson. “So, I’ll go home and I’ll be home with my family, but a large part of it will be conditioning myself to the point to where if we had to play a game July 27, I could play July 27 and not have to come off the field.”
While the veterans and rookies prepare for Training Camp 2013, Raiders.com will get Raider Nation ready for Napa with player profiles, preseason and regular season first looks, and more. Make sure to check in each day for the latest on the Silver and Black.
Tags: Charles Woodson, Darren McFadden, Dennis Allen, Mandatory Mini-Camp, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Training Camp
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