Here are five takeaways on what was said.
1. One major reason the Raiders brought in Witten, who became one of the NFL’s top tight ends over 16 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, was for his veteran leadership. Coach Jon Gruden even asked Witten to speak to the team a few days ago about the importance of high character.
“It’s vital,” Witten said. “This league’s too hard regardless of how talented you are, and I shared this with the guys. … The margin for error is so small in this league that’s how you have to approach it. I was blown away by the skill set. You can see it. I’ve also seen the guys love football. They work hard. They’re accountable.”
2. Witten acknowledged it was strange at first being part of a new organization, but said that fits right into the COVID-19 times.
“You play 16 years and think you’ve seen it all, and 2020 happens,” he said. “Coach Gruden condensed the playbook, so I’ve mastered the first 1,000 pages. Only have 9,000 to go.”
3. Witten said the Raiders compared favorably to the Cowboys when it came to the new facilities and how they’ve treated their players.
“They didn’t miss a beat with all the details, and they’ve provided a great opportunity,” Witten said. “It says a lot about the ownership and the message being sent to the players. From the COVID testing to where we want to live has been first class. I’m coming from the leader in first class and in how you do it with the Dallas Cowboys. There’s a buzz. That’s a challenge for the players that they have this opportunity they can’t take for granted.”
4. Kwiatkoski, who played four seasons with the Chicago Bears, was the first player the Raiders targeted in free agency.
“Initially, going into free agency I had no idea (what to expect),” he said. “It was one of those things I played by ear. Then the Raiders reached out so early, so I knew I was wanted.”
5. One of Kwiatkoski’s primary duties as the starting middle linebacker will be to communicate calls to the defense.
“I did it a bunch in Chicago,” he said. “It’s something I’m used to. Right now, I’m working on communicating with Cory (Littleton, the strongside starter) — he’s right next to me — and the overall communication with the defense. We lost a lot of time in the spring. It’s a lot of what we’re trying to do.”