Raiders open up training camp

The Raiders opened up their training camp in Napa, Calif. to 100+ degree weather on Friday.

Due to the latest collective bargaining agreement, head coach Dennis Allen won't be able to see his team in pads and at full speed until Sunday at the earliest.

Despite the heat and the lack of pads, Allen appreciated the development he saw from his team on day one of training camp.

"Not a better place to have a training camp than right here," Allen said of the first day. "I thought we started off well today, I thought for the first day of practice I thought it was a pretty clean practice. I thought we worked well, but we've still got a lot of improvement that we've got to make. It's step one of a long journey. This is definitely a marathon and not a sprint."

The first practice in Napa also meant the first training camp practice for the Raiders rookies, including first-round pick Khalil Mack and second-round pick and quarterback Derek Carr.

Still without pads, Mack looked every bit as big and quick as he did in Organized Team Activities and minicamp.

Mack said after the camp that nothing really surprised him from his first day, besides the scorching heat.

"Not too much other than the weather was real nice today and everyone felt that," Mack said. "It was a great day and everybody got better."

Meanwhile, Carr looked solid for the most part besides a couple of fumbles from under center. Carr's first fumbled snap occurred early on when he seemed to jam his hand, causing the ball to fall to the turf. The second one occurred towards the end of practice, with Carr displaying some frustration with himself after fumbling the second one.

Carr displayed his strong arm on multiple occasions, even one time in which he may have thrown it too hard on a short throw, causing it to go through his receivers arms.

Here are some other quick observations regarding the Raiders' first day of practice at training camp:

  • Wide receiver Greg Little followed up his strong OTAs with a day at training camp with some acrobatic catches, including one over Taiwan Jones. Little did have one bad drop but his positive plays greatly outweighed that one drop. Allen agreed that he will evaluate Little as a whole. "I'm not going to let one play determine the way I feel about Greg Little. I think, since he's been here... number one, he's an outstanding talent, and since he's been here he's done everything that we've asked him to do. He's been a real pro about the way he's gone about doing his job and his job is just like everybody else out here - to focus in and continue to work to get better on a day-in-day-out basis. I thought today,  if you take the sum of the whole practice, I thought he practiced fairly well."
  • Starting quarterback Matt Schaub had an up-and-down day, throwing an interception on a ball to wide receiver Denarius Moore. Cornerback Neiko Thorpe jumped the route nicely to come down with the interception. Schaub redeemed himself on the next play as he found Rod Streater deep for a touchdown over cornerback Tarell Brown. Schaub would later encounter some difficulties when Brice Butler had to dive to dig a ball out of the ground on a low pass, followed up by two incomplete passes from Schaub. But once again, Schaub would use a short memory to come back and complete his next three passes in the next team activities. Allen knows that the passing game can take some time to develop, but still thought today was a good start and the passing game was fine. "The first day of camp you're always going to have some things you need to work on. The passing game is something that takes a little bit of time to get back into the rhythm," Allen said. "I thought we made some good plays down the field in the passing game, so I was not at all disappointed at the way we threw the ball."
  • Fullback Marcel Reece made his presence known on the first day by making plays all over the field, including some nice catches in the passing game. Reece had just 32 receptions for 331 yards and two touchdowns. He had his best receiving year in 2012, hauling in 52 receptions for 496 yards and one touchdown. As a collegiate wide receiver and having a knack for making plays, there's no doubt that Reece should be involved in the passing game more withthe match-ups that he can create.
  • Tight end David Ausberry made some nice catches on the field but did have a bad drop from Matt McGloin over the middle. The Raiders are hoping that Ausberry can step up and grab the number-one tight end position.

The Raiders will return the practice field in Napa, Calif. on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. PST. In fact, all of this year's training camp practices will be at 3:00 p.m. at the request of Allen.

"I just thought it was more conducive to learning," Allen said of the afternoon practices. "After going through a couple of times last year and the year before, I did a lot of work with the staff in the offseason, we talked about it a lot, about what was the best way for us to go out and teach, what was the best for these players as far as learning, what was the best for these players as far as the recovery on their body. We just felt like it was the right thing for us to do. We had an opportunity to come out here in the morning. We met last night, did the install, came out here this morning. We were able to walk through the things that we installed offensively, defensively and in the kicking game, and then get a chance to come out here and practice at full speed. Now we’ll go in and we’ll watch the tape and we’ll make those corrections. So just think, from a learning standpoint, as far as teaching, I thought it was a better situation for us.”

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