2017 Training Camp Journal

Let’s jump right into things, folks.

Derek Carr’s recovery, and health going forward.

This team goes only as far as Number 4 takes them. It’s that simple.

52’s sort of a player himself, but this team’s success rests on Carr’s shoulders. We obviously know how things played out and ended last season. Luckily, recovery (fibula) appeared to go as well as it possibly could have, and Derek appears to be at or close to 100%. I’m sure many will be keeping a close eye on his activity level leading up to the start of the preseason.

So far, in Napa…

Donald Penn’s holdout.

While I think a majority of us were taken aback by the news of Raiders’ Pro Bowl left tackle Donald Penn’s holdout, I personally don’t fault him, and more or less respect the move.

The timing obviously sucks, but Penn’s clearly outplayed his current contract and is looking to (again) cash in one last time as the 34-year old figures to be nearing the end of a solid career. Oakland would be wise to pay-up, although it seems Reggie McKenzie wants to see a show of good faith first?

Either way, the alternatives (to Penn) aren’t very appealing.

Austin Howard’s departure.

I might’ve been the only person banking on Howard’s recovery (surgery on his shoulder this offseason), in hopes of him pushing and reclaiming his spot on the right side.

Although his play frustrated at times last season (I’m sure we can attribute some of that to the injury itself), in my opinion, Howard was (easily) the best talent at right tackle available to the Raiders at the time. Now, Oakland turn to Marshall Newhouse, as it’s been reported early on that it’s his job to lose. While I understand that it’s rare to trot out five Pro Bowl-level talents, to me, there’s a clear drop-off when turning to Newhouse.

Rookie OT David Sharpe could get involved sooner rather than later, amongst other names.

Gareon Conley’s status.

All in a single afternoon, Conley’s case was both moved up and later dismissed (I think that’s the right terminology) by a grand jury.

The talent has always been there for the Ohio State defensive back, who was once thought of as a top 10 or 15 selection. Leaving the board at 24 might look like a steal for Oakland in a couple of seasons. With the case now behind him, and working through what McKenzie categorized as shin splints (hence the PUP designation early on), it’s only a matter of time before the rookie gets things going at full-speed.

Secondary turnaround?

Speaking of defensive backs, the secondary as a whole will be looking for a bounce-back campaign.

Outside of Karl Joseph’s play, the backfield was suspect all year long. David Amerson regressed to the mean. Sean Smith got cooked enough as well, and hasn’t looked the same since his injury Reggie Nelson, despite the Pro Bowl nod and gaudy interception numbers, let his age show on numerous occasions. Gareon Conley should provide a boost, as noted above, and athletic phenom Obi Melifonwu will look to bring some versatility to the table.

Amari’s “new look”, and state of the wide receivers.

Third-year wideout Amari Cooper showed up to camp with his weight up, packing on serious offseason muscle. The new physique won’t last too long, we’re told, as he’ll look to cut down as the regular season approaches. The speed, footwork, and everything else we’ve grown to love about the former Alabama monster remains the same, and if there was a year to bet on the “big” Amari breakout, my money’s on this season.

The early camp blurbs have been fun, for starters:

Seth Roberts looks to improve on last year’s efforts. A few timely and costly drops is really all that f this fan base remembers, according to my timeline. Still, Derek Carr and this staff love the kid’s ability, so expect him to remain a factor in the offense.

Raiders’ newcomer and fifth-year pro Cordarrelle Patterson could (should?) add an interesting dynamic, as well. No longer the “centerpiece” of a passing attack, perhaps that “weight off his shoulders”, so-to-speak, opens things up going forward?



Mario Edwards Jr. watch…

Currently on the NFI (non-football injury) list, we’re told whatever he’s “dealing with” is not serious.

Still, a concern for a player who’s young career has been marked with what seems like constant injury.

We know he’s flashed, and can be a factor, but can he stay on the field long enough to do so?

What’s up with Bruce?

Also joining Mario Edwards Jr. on the team’s NFI list, Bruce Irivin, I’d assume, is just taking things easy? He, along with Edwards Jr., both participated in the offseason program leading up to training camp.

At least we can safely hope that’s the case, as Irvin’s going to be needed on Sunday’s. The pass rush outside of Khalil Mack was a non-factor, if we’re being polite.

Expectations for the hometown hero.

In case you hadn’t heard, Marshawn Lynch is back playing football once more.

Honestly, I’m still not quite sure what to expect out of Lynch this season. So far, a few days into camp, he at least appears in shape. I don’t think that was necessarily ever in question. We’ve seen some clips of him in pads now, looking light on his feet, moving through traffic – all that. We’ll see how things translate to Sunday’s, and how much work they put on his plate.

One thing is for sure, though. No matter what, we’re going to have some fun this season:

I’ll look to keep this post updated with noteworthy news and nuggets as Training Camp moves along.

Catch me on Twitter: @StillRyanFive