NAPA, Calif. — Monday is when the action at Raiders training camp gets serious.
The offensive tackle could sense it Sunday, an intensity simmering on the field. The team has practiced for months together, beginning in April when veterans arrived for voluntary workouts. Then came organized team activities in May and a mandatory June minicamp.
Now, here comes the physicality.
The team will wear shoulder pads Monday for the first time this offseason. Newhouse, who’s worked at left tackle while Donald Penn holds out from training camp, will be tested. He regularly will face defensive end Khalil Mack, the reigning AP Defensive Player of the Year.
Newhouse said he is “excited.”
“In terms of echelon, he’s up there, if not the best in the game right now,” Newhouse said. “It’s only going to make me better, and I hope I can challenge him and make him better as well. It’s going to be fun, really physical. But it’s going to get us both ready for Tennessee (on Sept. 10). It’s been good so far. (Monday) is the real telling day with pads, and we’ll go from there.”
The Raiders don’t need pads to know they like Newhouse’s experience and attitude.
He’s handled the past few days in stride.
Before veterans reported Friday, he was slated to work at right tackle. Then the Raiders’ coaches were made aware of Penn’s push for a new contract. They were forced to flip Newhouse from the right to left side, a maneuver that was nothing new to him. He has done plenty of bouncing around during a six-year NFL career.
Newhouse, 28, spent the past two seasons with the Giants. He signed a two-year, $3.5 million contract with the Raiders in March.
Padded practices help coaches evaluate their roster. Although tackling is rare, some players rise to the occasion when the physicality increases. Others who were impressive in shorts in the spring begin to fade away.
“Guys are definitely eager to put our best foot forward,” Newhouse said. “We’ve got a lot to prove this season, a lot of expectations to live up to. So, it’s going to start with the fronts on both sides of the ball. I think we’re absolutely ready for it. I think we’re excited for it. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Former great dies
As the Raiders hosted more than 100 former players this weekend for Alumni Weekend, the reunion took a solemn turn for those who knew Dave Grayson.
Grayson, a ball-hawk defensive back for the Raiders from 1965 to 1970, died on Saturday. He was 78.
Twenty-nine of his career 48 intereptions came with the franchise. He also played spent four seasons with the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs.
“The Raiders family is saddened by the passing of Dave Grayson,” owner Mark Davis said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Grayson family.”
Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.