Raiders Training Camp
In what will be their final year in Oakland, the Raiders recently began their 2019 football training camp in Napa. Under new General Manager Mike Mayock and with the addition of talented players this offseason, including wide receiver Antonio Brown, optimism is running high.
“This team has only made the postseason once since 2002. That’s not good. However, I am excited about joining this team and ready to get to work;” Mayock said during a press conference hosted prior to the opening of camp.
Oakland finished with an abysmal 4-12 season last year, finishing last in the AFC West in 2018. Coach Jon Gruden and company hope to turn that around.
“This is a different feel and a new year. We have players here who have the ability to do great things,” said Gruden.
In March of 2019 the Raiders landed wide receiver Antonio Brown. He arrived in Napa via hot air balloon and on Tuesday, July 30 the all-pro practiced with his new teammates. His afternoon was cut short due to an undisclosed injury. On Tuesday, Aug. 6 it was disclosed that Brown suffered frost bite on his feet due to not wearing proper footwear in a cryotherapy machine. No timeline on his return was available.
Brown is not the only new weapon for quarterback Derek Carr. The Raiders also acquired wide receivers J.J. Nelson, Tyrell Williams, Dwayne Harris and Ryan Grant.
In the draft this past April the Raiders drafted running back Josh Jacobs out of Alabama with their 24th overall pick in the first round. A need they will have to fill with Marshawn Lynch officially retiring and a backfield that includes Doug Martin, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington. Fullback Keith Smith went down with an injury and has been placed on the IR, as did free agent pick up running back Isaiah Crowell.
“He (Josh Jacobs) has not earned the starting running back position yet. He has to prove he can pick up a blitz, carry the ball and pick up positive yardage on third-and-one,” said Gruden.
The team’s defense beefed up over the offseason as well. Their secondary added Lamarcus Joyner, Johnathan Abram (27th overall pick) and Trayvon Mullen. Returning in the secondary are Karl Joseph and Gareon Conley. At the linebacker position the team added Brandon Marshall and Vontaze Burfict. They used their number four overall pick on defensive end Clelin Ferrell.
Oakland opens up the preseason on Saturday, Aug. 10 in Oakland against the defending NCF champion Los Angeles Rams. The game is scheduled for 5 p.m.