The Oakland Raiders took the field for their first of three practices of Mandatory Mini-Camp Tuesday afternoon. This week is the final opportunity for the players to work together and with the coaches before training camp at the end of July.
Although mini-camp is similar to Organized Team Activities, the final stretch of the off-season program brought extra excitement for the players. “There’s no full contact, no live contact, so the practice tempo was a little bit similar,” explained Coach Allen. “I think the guys understand mini-camp by nature, just by the name of it, you get a little bit more excitement. I thought the guys responded well to it today.”
Coach Allen has noticed Schaub’s ability to insert himself in a new situation and thrive. “I think he’s been outstanding. That’s what you’re looking for in a veteran quarterback,” said Coach Allen. “I don’t think we’ve seen the best of what we’re going to see out of Matt Schaub. Even though he is a veteran player, it’s still a different offense for him, it’s still something new. He’s still learning, but I’ve been very pleased with what I’ve seen out of him so far. I’ve been pleased with watching him over here in his uniform throw the ball, he looks pretty good.”
Schaub feels confident in the team’s growth as well. “I feel good given the offseason progression,” said Schaub. “Kind of coming in a little over two months ago, where we’re at as an offense and where I’m at within the offense, it’s a continuing process and each day just trying to get a little bit better, pick out a few things to work on from the day before. But it’s a never-ending process, just continuing to get better. But I feel good out there, feel good in the huddle, feel pretty good about what we’re trying to accomplish offensively.”
“As long as we get better every day, I think that we’ll be fine,” added Jones-Drew. “I love the way everybody’s competing. You’re starting to see guys step up a little bit, and that’s what it’s all about.”
The veterans are working off each other to play their best football. “Everyone wants to be the guy, but I think with what we have here with myself and Darren [McFadden], and the other guys that are working their butts off, when these pads get on, you’re going to start seeing what we’re going to be about, and that is going to be running back-by-committee, which is going to help us because we’re going to be fighting every day to get the ball,” said Jones-Drew. “I know Darren wants the ball just like I do, just as Latavius [Murray] and Stew [
McFadden and Jones-Drew are putting their past injuries and seasons behind them and looking forward to the future. “For us, we just go out there and play ball,” said RB
Each position group has two more practices to bring the competition, continue to improve and prepare themselves for Training Camp 2014.