This week’s schedule
All practices at Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center, unless noted:
Tuesday — Practice 7:30-9:30 a.m.
Wednesday — Practice 7:30-9:30 a.m.
Thursday — Off
Friday — Practice 7:30-9:30 a.m.
Saturday — Practice 7:30-9:30 a.m
Sunday — Practice 7:30-9:30 a.m
Monday — Off
Quote of the day
The book on wide receiver John Brown, who joined the Raiders in free agency this offseason, always begins with speed. It might be safe to assume his nickname “Smoke” relates to how fast he runs, though he informed a dozen or so assembled media at training camp Monday that’s not true. An older relative dubbed Brown with the moniker at birth because his skin was darker than most in his family. As for his place on the field, Brown thinks second-year wide receiver Henry Ruggs is the team leader. “He would beat me in a race,” Brown said.
Play of the day
Backup quarterback Marcus Mariota, who became a hot topic on social media as a potential trade candidate to Indianapolis after the injury to Carson Wentz, has been having a great camp. But he was less than sharp Monday as the Raiders returned to the practice field after Sunday’s off day. Mariota was inconsistent for the first time this training camp, though he did have a nice run on a keeper to the left where he ran untouched for about 30 yards. Moments later, he looked right and threw into traffic. While defensive backs had been letting offensive players catch the ball with little resistance, those restrictions were off Monday. Linebacker Nick Kwaitkoski intercepted the pass and took it down the left sideline to provide the day’s best highlight.
Special teams coach Rich Bisaccia could look at last season as a success. His kicker, Daniel Carlson, tied for the NFL lead in points and was nearly flawless. A.J. Cole hit 20 of his 44 punts inside the 20, had none blocked and only two touchbacks. The coverage units were fine, but that’s not enough, Bisaccia said.
“Last year is over, and we didn’t win it all, so I’m not pleased with anything,” he said. “… It’s about what we do today. And when today is over, it’s about what we do tomorrow. It’s about our actions the next day. We have to be consistent and do it day in and day out.”
The Raiders are expected to put on full pads Tuesday for the first time and intensify the contact. Not that it hasn’t already started. While the players have been in shorts and helmets the past few days, there has been enough contact between players to warrant reactions from the approximately 500 fans in attendance. One of the more important battles will be on the line of scrimmage, as the new-look offensive line goes against the influx of talent along the defensive front. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson said last week he was excited about the development of the line but added, “It’s hard to evaluate the offensive line and any other position when you haven’t done anything in pads yet.”
Receiver Hunter Renfrow’s bond with quarterback Derek Carr is obvious on the practice field, even if Renfrow admits he doesn’t hang out as much online playing video games together since the birth of his daughter. On one play in particular Saturday, Renfrow was blanketed in the end zone only to make brief eye contact with Carr, who hit Renfrow for a touchdown.
“That comes from a lot of backyard football,” Renfrow said. “We’re just out there having fun. You can take the game too serious and overthink it, but the joy of playing the game is so important, and how we see the game is similar.”