79°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Raiders get creative to get work done during coronavirus

The Raiders are doing their best to make sure the unusual times created by COVID-19 are as normal as possible.

In some cases, that means players taking it upon themselves, without the urging or orders of coaches, to be creative in finding ways to be as prepared as possible to hit the ground running when they can finally report to work.

Which is why you will find 20 or so Raiders players gathered at a local Las Vegas-area park on weekdays, Derek Carr and Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow among them, working on pass routes while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Why other players now living in the area are breaking into small groups and working out together at the home gyms of teammates, like the tight end group led by Darren Waller.

If there is one common message among the Raiders right now, it’s the importance of being self-starters at a time when the supervision of coaches is limited to two-hour virtual meetings four days a week.

”I feel like that is a characteristic of champions,” said Waller. “You know, champions don’t need someone to set their schedule for them or tell them where they need to be or tell them to put in a certain level of effort. That’s ingrained in them. It’s part of who they are. … That’s what we’re trying to get across and stress.”

Officially, the Raiders are continuing their four-day-a-week virtual OTA’s in which players use team-issued computers at homes spread across the country to spend two hours video conferencing with their coaches.

To maximize a restrictive process, coach Jon Gruden and his staff typically break players into groups. Five to 10 players work directly with their position coach. By splitting the meetings into smaller groups, it minimizes some of the technological malfunctions and difficulties that sometimes occur in coast-to-coast video conferencing involving large groups of people.

“Like some people not muting their mikes.” said Tanner Muse, the Raiders’ third-round draft pick out of Clemson. Muse and his fellow rookies came on board with the veterans last week after going through a virtual rookie minicamp the previous weekend.

The process of going from college to the NFL is difficult enough under normal circumstances, but is even more so this year for Muse and the rest of the 2020 rookie class. The key is not using it as an excuse.

“It’ll be really important for us to do extra on our own and really try to buckle down on our prep and our film and our conditioning,” Muse said.

The smaller-grouped meetings also allow players to digest streamlined information geared toward their position and responsibilities. With time of the essence and the tools and methods of instruction extremely limited, maximizing every second of teaching and learning is paramount.

“It’s definitely different,” said new Raiders linebacker Cory Littleton. “We’re still getting some of the work in, but it’s from a different aspect. You’re inside your own house, or wherever it might be that you are situated. … But the one thing I know is, playing football, there is always change. There are always adjustments to make. And as football players, we make adjustments. It’s who we are and what we do.”

In a normal offseason, NFL teams would be doing classroom work at their individual facilities right now, with the framework of the offense and defense getting installed. In a sport for which rosters turn over every year, players would be interacting and bonding.

Shortly after Memorial Day, they would phase in the on-field aspect of the offseason in which the classroom work transfers to the field. And while these sessions are completely voluntary, it goes without saying participation is greatly stressed.

But COVID-19 has completely altered that flow. With the NFL recently announcing virtual OTA’s will run through the end of May — while giving no clear indication of when players and coaches will be allowed back into facilities — there is a chance teams may not get to work together as a full group until training camp starts in late July.

For a Raiders team in which seven new starters and a slew of rotational players will emerge from 13 free-agent additions and a seven-player draft class, the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 could not have come at a worse time.

That is on top of the disruption caused by the move from California to Las Vegas.

“It’s tough, but we are making great use of the time,” Gruden said.

Added new linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, who is participating in OTA’s from his home in Chicago until he can find new digs in Las Vegas: “So far, with what we have been able to do, it’s been great, just learning the defense and trying to get to know some guys and coaches as best as possible.”

In the meantime, a bunch of Raiders players who have already made the move to Las Vegas are figuring out ways to get in their work.

“It’s been a good reminder that in life, not everything is going to happen on our timetable or how we want them to,” Waller said. “So sometimes you have to roll with the punches. We’re definitely getting some practice in on that right now.”

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore onTwitter.

Like and follow Vegas Nation
Raiders Videos
Natural turf added to Allegiant Stadium field tray
The massive field tray, which will roll in and out of the stadium, has a fresh layer of natural grass turf for Raiders home games.
Raiders preseason could play bigger role than usual - Video
The Raiders released the team's preseason schedule and this year's matchups could play a bigger role than usual.
Analysis on the Raiders Schedule: Tough Stretches, Season Odds and More - VIDEO
Vegas Nation podcast host Heidi Fang and columnist Ed Graney break down what to anticipate when the Raiders face Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a primetime game at Allegiant Stadium, the odds on the team's season wins, what stretches may be the toughest on the schedule and more. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jon Gruden reacts to Raiders schedule - Video
Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden shares his thoughts on his team's schedule for the 2020 season.
Raiders to host 4 prime-time games in 2020 - Video
The 2020 NFL schedule has been released and the Las Vegas Raiders are set to host four prime-time games.
Vegas Nation: Raiders to face Brady's Buccaneers after Bye Week - VIDEO
Vegas Nation podcast host Heidi Fang and columnist Ed Graney break down what to anticipate when the Raiders face Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a primetime game at Allegiant Stadium on Oct. 25 coming off their bye week. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review Journal)
Raiders will host Saints in Allegiant Stadium home opener - Video
The Las Vegas Raiders will open up Allegiant Stadium by hosting the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 21 for a Monday night matchup.
Vegas Nation: 2020 Draft Special - Tanner Muse Interview
Vegas Nation Host Cassie Soto interviews new Las Vegas Raider and 100th pick in the NFL Draft Tanner Muse.
Vegas Nation: 2020 Draft Special Day 3 - Best and Worst War Rooms
Vegas Nation Host Cassie Soto and Review-Journal sportswriter Ben Gotz discuss the winners and losers of the first ever NFL Virtual draft war room set ups.
Vegas Nation: 2020 Draft Special Day 3 - Draft Analysis
Vegas Nation Host Cassie Soto discusses day three of the NFL Draft and the Raiders final picks with Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney and Raiders beat writer Vinny Bonsignore.
Vegas Nation: 2020 Draft Special - Raiders Day 2 Draft Picks
The Raiders made the 80th, 81st and 100th pick in the 2020 NFL draft selecting Lynn Bowden Jr - Wide Receiver from Kentucky, Bryan Edwards - wide receiver from South Carolina and Tanner Muse - linebacker from Clemson. Vegas Nation Host Cassie Soto discusses the pick with Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney and Raiders beat writer Vinny Bonsignore.
Vegas Nation: 2020 Draft Special - Big Names From Around the League
Review-Journal sports writer Ben Gotz gives an update of some of the big name players taken in the first round of this years NFL Draft.
Vegas Nation: 2020 Draft Special - Henry Ruggs III
With the first pick in Las Vegas Raiders history the silver and black drafted wide receiver Henry Ruggs III out of Alabama. Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto discusses the pick with Review-Journal Columnist Ed Graney and Raiders beat writer Vinny Bonsignore.
Brent Musburger talks Raiders and the upcoming NFL draft
Broadcaster and Raiders Play-by-Play announcer Brent Musburger discusses the Las Vegas Raiders and the upcoming NFL draft with Review-Journal sportswriter Adam Hill.
Raiders logo goes up on Henderson headquarters - VIDEO
The iconic Raiders emblem gets installed on the team's headquarters and practice facility in Henderson on April 22, 2020. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Nation: Raiders 2020 Draft Preview - Video
Vegas Nation: Raiders 2020 Draft Preview will include a recap of the 2019 draft class, free agency updates and multiple segments discussing the class of 2020. Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto will be joined by Raiders beat writers Vinny Bonsignore and Myles Simmons, as well as sports writer Adam Hill to discuss all things NFL draft. The draft preview show also included interviews with 2019 draft picks Hunter Renfrow and Isaiah Johnson.
Allegiant Stadium lights up the night
Crews at the $2 billion, 65,000-seat stadium Tuesday night tested out the architectural light ribbons that run around various sections of the stadium, showing the facility will offer a distinct feel no matter what time of day it is.
2019 NFL Draft Flashback: The Raiders 2019 Draft Class - VIDEO
A look back at the Raiders 2019 Draft Class and an assessment of their production last season. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2019 NFL Draft Flashback: Mayock and Gruden on What Makes a Raider - VIDEO
A look back at what the team of Gruden and Mayock did in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft and what qualities they looked for in players when evaluating them and what went into their decisions to select who they did. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Crews finish Allegiant Stadium roof panel installation in just over a month
The final panels made of ETFE — ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, a fluorine-based plastic — were installed on the 65,000-seat stadium on Tuesday, marking the latest major milestone for the future home of the Raiders and UNLV football.
Raiders request road be named Raiders Way
The Raiders have requested that the road where their Henderson HQ is located be renamed Raiders Way. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mayock: Raiders Need to get Better at Wideout
Raiders General Manager Mike Mayock talked on a conference call about the team's need for a wide receiver and the approach they can take for acquiring one in a talent-rich 2020 draft class. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Allegiant Stadium roof install is complete - Video
The full enclosure of Allegiant Stadium was topped off on Tuesday after the final ETFE panels were installed.
Low-Tech Raiders' GM Talks Preparing for Virtual Draft Format - VIDEO
Raiders general manager Mike Mayock discussed on a conference call what he anticipates a virtual NFL Draft to be like and how he is adjusting to newer technology he'll have to use to work effectively during the three-day event. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quarantine with Las Vegas Raiders players – Video
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow and cornerback Isaiah Johnson have been doing their best to keep themselves busy during quarantine. Renfrow is spending his time in South Carolina, while Johnson is in Houston. The 2019 rookies both suffered injuries this past season and were hoping to come back stronger than ever the second time around, but the coronavirus had different plans for the NFL offseason. Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto spoke with both players and asked how they have been staying in shape as well as what shows they have binge watched during quarantine.
Raiders partner with Three Square - Video
Las Vegas Raiders players, including Hunter Renfrow, Alec Ingold, Josh Jacobs and Foster Moreau, are partnering with Three Square to help make sure those in need have access to food during the coronavirus pandemic.
Raiders extend season ticket dues - Video
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Las Vegas Raiders are extending final season ticket dues until the summer.
Raiders fullback Alec Ingold ready to play in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Raiders fullback Alec Ingold sits down with the RJ and talks about the excitement surrounding the team's move to Las Vegas during off-season training in Wisconsin. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ikem Okeke Trying to get Noticed By NFL Scouts With His Pro Day Canceled Due to Coronavirus - Video
Ikem Okeke is a Bishop Gorman High alum who played his college football at Hawaii. After his pro day was canceled due to the coronavirus, he's attempting to catch the attention of NFL scouts by creating his own workout using the same company that tests at the combine. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Justin Herbert: Forcing Himself to be Uncomfortable to Become an NFL Quarterback
In order to become a prolific quarterback in the NFL, Oregon's Justin Herbert says he is going to have to make himself uncomfortable and put himself in challenging situations in order to improve at his position. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Worker at Allegiant Stadium tests positive for COVID-19
Construction of Allegiant Stadium is unlikely to affected by the coronavirus outbreak that is having an impact on just about every industry across the Las Vegas Valley. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Agree to Terms with WR Nelson Agholor - VIDEO
On Saturday the Raiders agreed to terms with wide receiver Nelson Agholor,  offensive lineman Eric Kush, tight end Nick O’Leary and running back Rod Smith, who appeared in the team’s final three games last season as a special teams player. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Agree to Terms with CB Eli Apple - VIDEO
The Raiders have come to terms with cornerback Eli Apple, who last played with the New Orleans Saints. Apple was drafted 10th overall in 2016 by the New York Giants. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders sign LB Littleton, DE Nassib, more
On the second day of the legal tampering period in the NFL, the Raiders picked up linebacker Cory Littleton, defensive end Carl Nassib, tight end Jason Witten and more. Here's a recap of the action from Tuesday. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders strengthen defense in free agency - Video
Some of the Raiders biggest struggles in the past seasons have come from the defense. Now, in free agency, the front office is making big moves to improve that side of the ball. Vegas Nation crew Cassie Soto and Myles Simmons bring you the latest in Raiders free agency.
Raiders make big free agency moves on offense - Video
The Raiders continue to make big moves on offense, including signing long-time Cowboy Jason Witten. Vegas Nation crew Cassie Soto and Myles Simmons bring you the latest in Raiders free agency.
Raiders and Cory Littleton agree to terms - VIDEO
Linebacker Cory Littleton, a 2018 Pro Bowler who played in Super Bowl 53 with the Los Angeles Rams, has agreed to terms with the Las Vegas Raiders. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marcus Mariota is a Raider - Video
The Raiders have signed quarterback Marcus Mariota as a backup to Derek Carr.
A Flyover of Allegiant Stadium At Night - VIDEO
Here's a look at the new home of the Raiders, Allegiant Stadium, at night from this flyover near the Las Vegas Strip.
Raiders Agree to Terms with Mariota, LB Kwiatkoski
A recap of the moves made as the NFL stays open for business transactions with unrestricted free agents being signed during the legal tampering period. The Raiders signed linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski and former Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota.  (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Nation: NFL Draft Canceled in Las Vegas, Legal Tampering Period Open - VIDEO
On Monday, the NFL announced the draft and its planned festivities would no longer take place in Las Vegas though the draft itself will still take place Apr. 23-25 as scheduled. The Raiders grabbed former Bears LB Nick Kwiatkoski in the first day of the legal tampering period. The Vegas Nation team breaks down the latest news in this update.(Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Love, Hurts Among QBs Raiders Could Target in NFL Draft - VIDEO
The Raiders may look to select a quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft and have 5 picks in the top 100. Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts and Utah State's Jordan Love could be among those the team has on their watchlist. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders stadium gets its new name installed
Aerial view of newly installed signage for Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Allegiant Stadium sign installation (timelapse) - VIDEO
Watch the name of the new Raiders stadium in Las Vegas go up in less that a minute. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
First signage going up at Allegiant Stadium - VIDEO
As Allegiant Stadium’s exterior has come into form, the dark tinted glass has drawn various nicknames. Now, however, the stadium will begin to reflect its official name. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
 
Vegas Nation Blitz — Virtual OTAs

Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto is joined by Vinny Bonsignore, Adam Hill, Mick Akers and Heidi Fang to breakdown new rule changes, Prop bets, and take a look inside the nearly completed Allegiant stadium.