Raiders look like a playoff team
The Las Vegas Raiders were back at practice after a day off on Friday. The team took a break from pads, and there wasn’t much live action during Saturday practice.
When there was full speed during the session, the team speed will quickly catch the eyes of fans. The Raiders appear to be a contending football team, even with a few glaring holes on the roster.
Of course, one of those is the offensive line which many thought the front office would address during the offseason. That didn’t happen and the same five from last season are on the roster with a slight change. Lester Cotton has replaced Alex Leatherwood, which has led the former first-round pick to back up duties.
Leatherwood losing to Brandon Parker or Lester Cotton will disappoint Raider Nation. Wasting three first-round picks in two years is never productive. The former Alabama offensive lineman still has time to fix his career for the better. Thayer Munford did receive second-team reps in his place but during regular rotations. While Leatherwood didn’t seem overly confident during his press conference, his words were optimistic.
“Yeah, it’s going good. We have a very talented o-line group. A lot of good depth, so great competition. It’s been fun.”
Cornerbacks depth could be a strength
The rest of the team is filling out nicely with depth at positions of need on defense. A few surprise players made an impact early on during training camp. Rock Ya-sin has consistently gone toe to toe with Davante Adams. Ya-sin had a beautiful pass break up in red zone action when going one-on-one with Adams.
Amik Robertson has seen plenty of reps with Trayvon Mullen on the PUP. The 2020 fourth-round pick has a chance to supplant himself into the slot position. He had an excellent pass breakup vs. Hunter Renfrow during the team session.
Nate Hobbs was all over the field, playing inside and outside at the cornerback position. His versatility will be a strength for Patrick Graham in this defense, and he will be used all over the field in 2022. He appears ready for the opportunity.
“Really most of my high school career and college career, I played outside. That’s second nature to me. That’s something I feel like I can do at a high level. But playing in the slot, like you said, there is a lot more room. Playing corner, slot, whatever I got to play, safety if I got to do that, it makes it a lot easier I feel like just having a feel for multiple positions.”
If the secondary can reach their potential, they could surprise all doubters with a great season. The receiver room will keep them on their toes during practice and help them prepare for Sundays as a unit.
Run game diversity
During the session highlighting the running game, the diversity of the schemes was noticeable. Fans were done with the predictable play calls from the previous four seasons, but Josh McDaniels will add many run designs to keep teams off their foot.
However, the outside zone was the primary run scheme during the practice. With Josh Jacobs specializing in outside zone schemes, it makes sense for McDaniels to implement that philopshy into his rushing attack. It can get the most out of Josh Jacobs with his time running out staying with the franchise.
-Jarret Stidham has control of the backup quarterback position with Nick Mullens and Garbers tailing behind.
-Undrafted free agent Isaiah Pola-Mao received reps with the second team defense. He is impressing coaches and has a chance to make this roster.
-Another sneaky player to make the roster is Cre’Von LeBlanc. He was great blitzing off the edge and had an interception on the day for the defense.