The next phase is the month and a half until pre-season camp starts. This period will include some players remaining and working within Raider guidelines to improve in areas they may need to work on. Others will go off to their own worlds but are expected to represent the team with integrity off the field and return in shape ready to step it up as the season fast approaches.
The third phase is preseason training camp which takes place in Napa California.
So at this point the Raiders have made it through an… e-hem “voluntary” mini camp, a post draft rookie mini camp, fitness, weights and conditioning programs and an official mandatory 3-day mini camp.
The recent mini camp included all team members from free agents to newly drafted players to returning veterans. They had a chance to practice and improve and give the new coordinators a look. this is the time coaches really begin pushing and testing players while assessing some early strategies for the next regular season. The acting coordinators sizing up the talent and crafting hopefully winning plans are offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. and special teams lead Brad Seely.
Coach Del Rio was optimistic post minicamp and felt it was a productive exercise. He saw his current athletes all participating showing growth, commitment and gook work.
Quarterback Derek Carr was in full practice mode throwing balls and doing so without any apparent signs of pain due to his reported injured finger which kept him mostly inactive for the previous month or so. It seems that whatever rehab program was followed it has turned out well and Carr needed only begin throwing to get his timing back.
Coach Del Rio offered words of caution to players leaving until camp begins in August. “The message, he stated, is for these guys is to be smart, make good choices, remember how important it is, what we do,“ He reminded players of the privilege that exists for those able to play in the NFL and for the Raider Organization. Basically he asked them to be adults and to be responsible and accountable while away and be ready to compete when they come back.
Del Rio is looking forward and sees the upcoming training camp as an extension of what has taken place to date as opposed to forgetting all and coming back having to press re-start. “We want to pick up from where we’re leaving here, which means guys need to be diligent during this time we have away from each other, then it will be great to get into pads,” Del Rio said.
Del Rio accepts the rules of no pads in mini camps and therefore uses conditioning to assess what his players have to offer. Del Rio played in a different time with different rules but has made adjustments and accepts the newer Collective Bargaining Agreement restrictions.
The new head coach made his feelings clear… “You may not like them, but they are the rules, so we make sure we’re maximizing the time we have, give ourselves every opportunity to develop the fullest talents of the players and make sure we can utilize those talents on game days.”
Scott Davis former Los Angeles Raider writes several blogs and oversees social media sites about Oakland Raider Football