Media were allowed into view a Raiders OTA again this week and, after some time to digest the story-lines and sift through all of the information, TFDS will attempt to pull out the pieces that are likely to affect the team.
As with most sessions this time of year, we must take much of the camp with a grain of salt. Again, the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) strictly prohibits contact between the players in Organized Team Activities (OTAs) so we are almost completely unable to make determinations on the defense.
OTAs also don’t allow any pads and so it’s also difficult to judge the offense. What is judged is movement, change of direction, explosiveness and, with receivers, ability to make receptions at all points on the fields and how well they can use their hands, catch away from their bodies and get vertical for a reception.
To that point, Juron Criner again stood out to the media – in a positive way. At one point he broke off one of his routes and reached behind him for a one-handed reception. At another point he made a nice reception between two defenders in stride for a good gain. I said on Twitter at the time – and will repeat it here – if he can continue making plays like he is in OTAs in training camp and preseason, he will start at wide receiver at some point this season.
Not to be outdone, Denarius Moore – who was out with a “soft tissue” injury last OTA also made some great catches including a one handed reception of his own.
While nothing is set, many positions seem to be, shall we say, settling.
The starting lineup for most positions has been the same each OTA. For offensive line, the starters have been Jared Veldheer, Cooper Carlisle, Alex Parsons, Mike Brisiel and Khalif Barnes. Parsons is in at Center while Wizniewski heals from a torn labum.
There’s no guarantee that the others will be the opening day alignment but it certainly seems like the coaching staff is settling in with that arrangement. There will be challenges in training camp, of course, but the guards and tackles who are starting right now certainly have the upper hand.
Because there may not be a place in the starting lineup for him, yet, rookie Tony Bergstrom, who has been learning LG exclusively, got reps in at RG. Because a team only has a certain number of spots dedicated to offensive lineman, the backups need to be able to play at multiple positions.
Palmer has looked extremely good in camp and this OTA was no exception. Palmer showed that he can execute rollouts fairly well and continues to impress with accurate passes all over the field. Readers of TFDS should not be surprised that Palmer can move – his Tale of the Tape discussed that he shows the ability to move over ground and buy time with his legs.
De Facto rookie Terrelle Pryor had a rough day this media session. He’s struggled with accuracy throughout OTAs – something that he also struggled with in college – and this week’s session was particularly bad. Especially on deep throws he isn’t able to drop it into the wide receivers hands. He’s showing that he’s still very much a developmental project going into his second year in the league.
We will all learn more next week when there is a mandatory minicamp Tues, Wed and Thurs in which we will be able to better guage the defense and offense in pads. It will be the last team activity before training camp begins at the end of July.
For more Raiders news and analysis, follow me on Twitter @AsherMathews
(Photo courtsey of Levi Damien)