Not only were the Raiders back in pads but today was also a “competition day”, per head coach Dennis Allen. The competition may have low stakes – which unit, offense or defense, gets to wear the silver colored jerseys instead of the hotter black ones – but it is a point of pride amongst the players and the team sessions were a lot more active today.
Dennis Allen didn’t say who won the competition but from my perspective it was the defense. The offense didn’t do a good job on connecting on many throws today with any of the quarterbacks although Flynn was the sharpest of the three.
The team remains banged up with Jacoby Ford, Latavius Murray, Brandian Ross, Kaluka Maiava, Miles Burris, Menelik Watson and Lamarr Houston among the notable names missing practice today. The defensive line looked like it may be a bit healthier when DT Stacy McGee started practice but he was definitely limping and was unable to finish, per Allen.
In addition to McGee going out, recently signed DT Myles Wade was also injured in practice, leaving the DT position one of the thinnest on the team. Dennis Allen admitted this was a need, saying, “I think [bringing in more players at DT is] something we’ve got to continue to look at. We brought in Myles Wade, unfortunately he was injured today, so we’ve got to keep going and make sure we have enough bodies to come out here and practice with."
I watched the defense a lot more today. Tarver, living up to his mad-chemist designation, seems to still be tinkering with the linebacker formations so there isn’t a set lineup at this point. Having said that, Sio Moore did line up at strong side linebacker more times than not, today. I saw him drop into coverage maybe once and he rushed the QB the other teams.
Nick Roach was the middle linebacker and, with Kaluka Maiava out with injury, Kevin Burnett got all first team snaps, mostly at weak side linebacker.
In nickel packages, Sio Moore came off the field and Burnett and Roach were the two linebackers.
Taiwan Jones came down with another interception today, off of a deflected pass. It looks like it would have been a pick-six in a game as he had the outside track to the end zone. Jones has made some good plays but he’s a big boom or bust player and gave up a long TD pass to FB Jamize Olawale a little later in team sessions, trailing Olawale in coverage.
Charles Woodson had perhaps the play of the day, a diving interception on a pass that bounced off of Ausberry’s hands. Ausberry, who has received some good press for his camp thus far, had a forgettable day. Many of the passes that came his way weren’t quite on target but he was able to get a hand on them and didn’t come down with as many as I thought he could’ve.
You can follow Asher on Twitter @AsherMathews