NAPA, Calif. — For a while Wednesday, Martavis Bryant may as well have been a season-ticket holder sipping a complimentary water bottle from the bleachers.
He watched as Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and the first-team offense executed a two-minute drill. They ran nine plays, all from “11” personnel (one running back, one tight end, three wide receivers). The drive concluded with a 52-yard field goal that Eddy Pineiro scraped wide left.
Next came the second-team offense.
He watched quarterback Connor Cook run an uptempo eight plays. Rookie Marcell Ateman, Griff Whalen, rookie Saeed Blacknall were the wide-receiver trio. A couple penalties stalled the drive.
Finally, Bryant accompanied Cook on the field soon thereafter.
Those sitting rose for what followed.
A quiet training camp for the Raiders wide receiver gained volume during the second of two joint practices against the Detroit Lions. Bryant ran a “go” route and caught a long touchdown from Cook on his first 11-on-11 snap. On his next rep, he demonstrated concentration during a 50-yard touchdown versus the Lions’ top defensive back.
Bryant has seen fewer 11-on-11 snaps than many other receivers over the course of camp.
Wednesday was but one day. The Raiders look for more of the same.
“Today was probably his best day,” wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett said. “Obviously, he got more reps today because of his overall preparation. Again, he’s putting the time in and the work in, and then he’ll benefit like he’s doing right now. That’s the starting point. It always starts with the preparation. … He just needs now to be consistent and keep stacking success.
“He had a good day today. Now we need to stack tomorrow and keep building on it, keep building on it.”
Bryant sprinted past cornerback Teez Tabor for the first score. On the second, first-team All-Pro cornerback Darius Slay was in press man coverage, as Bryant ran a shallow crossing route. Slay reached out and deflected Cook’s pass, but the ball flared off Bryant, who controlled it and outran the secondary.
On Saturday, coach Jon Gruden expressed disappointment with Bryant’s progress in grasping the offense.
Specifically, the Raiders want their wide receivers to be versatile, able to play multiple positions. That requires a strong grasp of the scheme. Bennett acknowledged Wednesday there have been conversations with Bryant in regard to his preparation.
“We have,” Bennett said, “and we have these conversations not just with him but with all of our players. … What is it going to take, as far as the time they have on their own? Obviously, with the CBA, you’re going to have to study. Guys understand that. They’re putting the work in. We’ve just to continue to stack those successful days like we did today.
“It all starts with the preparation off the field, in the classroom, the attention to detail. And then when we get an opportunity to step onto the field, make sure we execute.”
Gruden was complimentary toward Bryant after practice.
He helped steer the Raiders’ acquisition of him on April 26. In exchange, they sent a third-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“Martavis is not a good talent; he’s a great talent, and we’re going to continue to work him into our offense,” Gruden said. “Today showed, I think, what he’s capable of doing.”