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Team activities start today

Today the Raiders meet for the first time as a team since the season ended after week 17 last December.

The Raiders are one of the teams afforded the opportunity to meet this early because they have a new head coach in Dennis Allen.  The first meetings are when the coach explains to the players as a group how he will be running the team and starting to set expectations.

The offense will also be given OC Gregg Knapp’s playbook to begin studying and learning the plays.  Raiders QB Carson Palmer has said in interviews that he has been studying Houston’s offense from last season in order to learn how Knapp likes the offense to be run.

In addition, Palmer has been working out with a group of players – some Raiders, some not.  These workout groups have included Raiders WR Darrius Heyward-Bey and TE David Ausberry and also non-Raiders Terrell Owens and Matt Leinart, among others.

Leinart was a backup to Palmer at USC before coming into his own after Palmer left for the NFL.  There is speculation that he may backup Palmer on the Raiders this season although there has been nothing official nor any rumors that he has been in for a workout with the team’s brass.

The defense will also get an idea of how their schemes and formations will be changing this season.  The defense is expected to undergo many changes as head coach Allen is a defensive minded coach and they have a new defensive coordinator in Jason Tarver out of Stanford.

The team’s first mini-camp will be April 17th.  The draft will follow soon thereafter at the end of April – it starts April 26th.

There is likely to be another minicamp in early to mid May to begin teaching the rookies and other undrafted free agents that will be introduced to life in the NFL.  Training camp dates have not been set but are traditionally at the end of July.

For Raiders news and analysis throughout the day, or to ask me questions or tell me what you think, follow me on Twitter @AsherMathews