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Training Camp 2018


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Training camp gets underway on July 23rd when rookies report and kicks into full gear on July 26th. Here are the storylines heading into camp:

When will Khalil Mack report?

He's their defensive MVP and the Raiders need their pass rush to click this season.

How will the defense take shape?

It's been Mack and everyone else for years now. What players are going to step up this season under Guenther. We know what to expect with his scheme, but there are a lot of question marks to the defensive rotation. 

Where is the pass rush coming from?

Mack is a given and Bruce Irvin played well at the end of '17. Will having him as full time pass rusher help? Staff is high on Key and Hurst, but can they learn quick enough to get meaningful reps as rookies and impact the game?

And what about the secondary?

Dreadful a year ago with 5 interceptions all season. Is Conley healthy? Was Melvin just a flash in the pan? Can Joseph show what made him a 1st round draft pick? The safety spot is a bit of a mystery with Nelson past his expiration date, but nobody yet to challenge him for the spot. 

Will the LBs be up to the task?

The AFC west is filled with talented TEs and RBs who have made the Raiders pay for years. Raiders hoping Whiteheads (a run stopper) and 36 year old Johnson can bring some respectability to the group. But who's the WLB and can any of the young guys progress to add decent depth?

Will Cooper be the focal point and cure his drops. How will the rest of the WR group come together?

Gruden is said to want to make Cooper the focal part of his offense. Sees him as young Tim Brown. Will this work out and is Cooper ready for the spotlight? What's the deal with Martavius Bryant? Can Jordy Nelson show a little left in the tank? And who will win the 4th spot in the rotation?

Who are the starting tackles?

No question this was a point of emphasis with the staff in the draft. Protect Carr! Penn is coming off a serious injury and his career is about over. Miller and Parker are both raw prospects relying on Cable to get them ready. If Penn misses any time, can someone hold on the LT spot? And who wins the RT spot, one of the rookies or are they seriously going to trot Giacomini out there?

Can Lynch and Martin be something in 2018?

For Lynch, can he keep grinding at age 32? Martin is looking for a career renaissance after some poor years in Tampa. With good protection upfront, can these 2 carry the load and take pressure off Carr?

Who is Derek Carr?

Carr has missed time with injuries in the last 2 season. May have come back to early in '17. But is he the guy in 2016 who put the team on his back and looked like an MVP? Or is he a middle of the pack guy we saw in '17 who struggled with interceptions?

Can Gruden buck a disturbing trend? 

Make no mistake.... former great coaches who've come back after years off and haven't fared well. Can Gruden come back after nearly a decade and still be the man he was previously? It's easy to say he's been around the game in his time away, but when it comes to calling a game does he have the same zest? Training camp and preseason will show us a lot about how he's relating to the team and differences since he last coached 


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Fun storylines this off-season! It's going to be an interesting season to say the least..

Things I hope are reported during Training camp:

Mack participating (with contract extension)

Cooper looking fast and has lost weight (I think he put on too much weight last off-season)

Nelson and Carr hook up often (Nelson relied on chemistry with Rodger's for success. Very important that Carr and Nelson get on the same page with route timing etc..)

Gruden lets his inner Chuckie loose (I feel like JDR was too casual and was too hands off)

Hurst takes 1st team reps (Vanderdoes will still be out and Hurst taking this role could be huge for the DL)

Miller wins RT spot (not guaranteed but I would bet on it)

Melifonwu takes major steps forward (what is he going to amount to in NFL?)

So many other things I don't have the time to write up.. Definitely more interested in this training camp than last.

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Too bad for PJ Hall, wanted to see him get a full camp. 

Have a bad feeling about Mack. Reggie has already set precedent that he'll pay players if and when they show up (Penn). But to stay away for this long may be worrisome. You have to figure a guy like Mack, you pay him. So I wonder what the hold up is. 

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