The Oakland Raiders returned to the football field for the fifth day of practice, once again donning pads. Practice was crisp after the day off and the team's overall health remains relatively good. The only two players missing practice were tight end Colton Underwood and cornberback SaQwan Edwards, who was seen walking off the field gingerly with a trainer on Monday. He didn't return that day.
The Raiders also got back another one of their undrafted free agents in defensive end Greg Townsend, Jr. Townsend started camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list but appeared to be full-go Wednesday.
Here are some quick observations from Wednesday's practice:
- The Raiders passing game was much stronger, especially from the first-team offense. Starting quarterback Derek Carr looked comfortable and threw some beautiful passes, including one to second-year wide receiver Amari Cooper over the middle where he anticipated the tight window. He appears to have good touch on the intermediate throws while also being able to find the open receiver further down field.
- Backup quarterback Matt McGloin and the second-string offense struggled much more. McGloin has struggled with interceptions in training camp and he threw another pick-six on Wednesday when safety Dewey McDonald stepped in front of the throw and took it back for the touchdown. He hasn't looked as crisp as recent years, but there's still not really a threat to lose his job.
- While rookie quarterback Connor Cook did have a couple of nice balls, he continues to struggle at consistency. The ball comes out of Cook's hands wobbly, and he's not progressing through his reads. The former Michigan State quarterback still has a lot of work to do to battle McGloin for the backup job.
- Right tackle Menelik Watson came up a little hobbled after a play late in practice. He did return for a couple of snaps later, but was not taking reps when the team ended on team activities as it was veteran Austin Howad who stepped in. He never left the field though so it didn't appear to be too serious.
- The Raiders expect the addition of linebacker Bruce Irvin to be big for their pass rush as he lines up opposite of Khalil Mack, who finished with 15 sacks last season. Irvin displayed his pass-rush abilities in practice again today when he bull-rushed left tackle Donald Penn and knocked him back to get to Derek Carr for the simulated sack. Irvin should have plenty of opportunities with opposing offensive lines focusing on Mack.
- Cornerback David Amerson was rewarded with a big contract just last month but now he's rewarding the Raiders by continuing his strong play. He led the team in passes defensed last year with 26, and has already displayed the same blanketing defense this camp. He did so again on Wednesday, sticking to Amari Cooper's hip.
The Raiders will return to the field for their sixth training camp practice at 11am on Thursday morning.