3 Day Mandatory Minicamp

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3 Day Mandatory Minicamp

Postby RF34 » Tue Jun 09, 2015 4:48 am

What Raiders are looking for from mandatory minicamp

By Jerry McDonald jmcdonald@bayareanewsgroup.com
Posted: 06/08/2015 03:52:14 PM PDT1 Comment | Updated: about 9 hours ago

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders have three more days of choreography starting Tuesday before adjourning until late July.

A three-day mandatory minicamp is a last chance for coach Jack Del Rio, his staff and general manager Reggie McKenzie to assess what they've got after an offseason program that also included a veteran minicamp and three weeks of organized team activities.

Given the restrictions on contact during the offseason as mandated by the collective bargaining agreement, the main focus since late February has been on learning the playbook, improving conditioning and establishing a like-minded approach to every work day.

A little individual personality is fine so long as it furthers the common goal.

"We ask our guys to express themselves and be themselves and have fun, but put in the work and understand what it takes," Del Rio said. "We're getting that. We like the way we're working. We're working with a lot of energy. We're developing players and the mentality we want to have."

A few storylines that have developed with the new-look Raiders so far and what to look for over the next three days before coaches and players separate until the club reports to Napa in late July:

Carr trouble. Quarterback Derek Carr hasn't thrown a legitimate pass in public view as he rehabs a reported injury to his ring finger. He was a spectator at the first OTA, advanced from handoffs to pitchouts and then finally to a few short swing passes last week.

The Raiders expect a little more from Carr during this week's practices, but not much. The target date for letting it rip is training camp. (The Raiders have yet to announce a reporting date and date of first practice, but it will be some time after July 27).

Carr has been silent on the matter, per team policy, and his teammates say they are unconcerned, given the quarterback's constant presence and mental grasp of the new offense.

Next step: A few downfield throws would further the notion that Carr is indeed progressing, quashing the initial report of potential surgery as well as giving the quarterback some on-field time with his new receivers.

Gain without pain. So far the lone on-field injury has been to seventh-round pick Andre Debose, a wide receiver lost with an Achilles' tear and currently on injured reserve. Carr, defensive tackle Dan Williams (undisclosed), special teams player Taiwan Jones and linebacker Sio Moore (hip) have been held out with an eye on training camp.

Middle linebacker Curtis Lofton (undisclosed) returned last week. All veterans have been indoctrinated to the system even if their on-field time has been limited

Next step: Three more days of good health.

Living on the edge. The Raiders have gone through the offseason giving DJ Hayden and TJ Carrie every opportunity to be the starting cornerbacks after three seasons of going through recycled veterans in unrestricted free agency (Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer in 2012, Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins in 2013, Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers last season).

Given the lack of contact in the offseason, judging the play of defensive backs is a tough proposition. Receivers get mostly free releases so getting open is easier, and it's difficult to truly tell how corners are supporting the run other than being in the right place.

Next step: Hayden and Carrie have both had injury issues in the past and have put several practices together. Training camp will tell the tale about their viability as starters, as well as competitors Keith McGill and James Dockery.

•Clive climbing the ladder. Third-round pick Clive Walford, a tight end out of Miami, has made an immediate impact with backup quarterback Christian Ponder and third-stringer Matt McGloin.

The Raiders knew Walford could go up and get the ball and had the size to hold his own as an in-line blocker. What defenders have learned is Walford's functional speed is better than he shows in a 40-yard dash.

Next step: Staying away from rookie mistakes could enable Walford to be a legitimate competitor for Mychal Rivera, who has 96 receptions for 941 yards and eight touchdowns in his first two seasons.
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