NAPA -- The way Tony Bergstrom tells it, there was a "nervous tension" on the bus ride to the Napa Valley Marriott from the Raiders' Alameda facility. After all, so many of the occupants were heading for their first NFL training camp."Then, about 20 minutes into the bus ride," the rookie offensive lineman said, "everybody was just kind of wanting to get off the bus."I'm not used to California traffic yet. I'll get there."Despite worries that he might not make it to Napa on time due to the first draft pick of the Reggie McKenzie Era remaining unsigned through Friday afternoon, Bergstrom put pen to paper and signed his contract at team headquarters at 10:07 Friday night.In fact, Bergstrom, who just experienced the birth of his first son this week, said he had agreed to terms "a long time ago. I'm an old-school guy. I like to do things in person, and I think that kind of fits in well with our organization. It was basically just getting out here and signing."Taken 95th overall out of Utah as a third-round compensatory pick, Bergstrom is expected to challenge 13th-year veteran Cooper Carlisle for the starting left guard spot after playing right tackle at Utah."Its coming," Bergstrom said. "It took awhile. I got a good taste of it at the Senior Bowl and just all the OTAs and minicamps really solidified that spot. Being in a left-handed stance feels a lot more natural right now, when I get down and run or whatever. Its getting there."The team will hold its first practice Monday, and will put on pads and hit for the first time Wednesday."Its been a long time since I put on pads," he said. "Im always a little more eager, at the beginning. I usually am over-eager at the beginning and then reality kind of hits as camp goes, as it gets into camp, so Im eager to get started, Im eager to strap it up. Really, a lot of the improvement comes when you put on pads. Its hard to do a ton when youre just in helmets."Nothing, though, would have been accomplished had the contract not been signed in time. Not that that was ever a concern in his mind."Oh yeah," Bergstrom said, "I'm not about to be the first holdout of the new CBA as a third-rounder."
Trent Richardson is reportedly in some trouble.
Richardson was arrested on Thursday night for domestic violence, according to TMZ Sports.
The former running back was taken into custody on a third degree charge, the report states, with bail being set for $1,000.
The arrest was made in Hoover, Alabama.
The Browns selected Richardson with the third overall pick in the 2012 draft.
He was traded to the Colts in 2013 and played for Indianapolis in 2014.
He signed with the Raiders in 2015 and appeared in three exhibition games, but did not make the team.
The 26-year old was cut by the Ravens last August.
Derek Carr and Todd Downing are tight. A strong friendship was forged between the Raiders’ franchise quarterback and his position coach these past two seasons, one that should help the Raiders now that Downing will call plays.
The Raiders new offensive coordinator will use his young signal caller as a resource formulating a game plan. Carr has a bright offensive mind – he called his own plays in high school and in college at times – and Downing plans to use it to put his quarterback in positions to succeed.
Carr’s influence in preparation will expand over previous seasons under coordinator Bill Musgrave.
“Where I see him needing a little bit more command is just being able to share his thoughts of game plans,” Downing said Wednesday in a conference call. “Being a student of the game, as he already is, but vocalize what he likes and doesn’t like. I think my relationship with him is something that’s going to give him the opportunity to voice his opinions. I look forward to him really taking charge of expressing his thoughts on the offense.”
Carr has always had freedom to adjust at the line of scrimmage, but that could increase with Downing in charge. Derek Carr’s brother Davis Carr told 95.7 The Game as much a few weeks ago, a topic Downing addressed on Wednesday.
“There’s been a lot made about his command at the line of scrimmage,” Downing said. “There’s certainly going to be opportunities for Derek to do that. That’s not something I feel we’ll even have to get into until we’re much further into this offseason and into training camp.”
Downing had opportunities to interview with other teams this offseason, but head coach Jack Del Rio wanted to pair Downing and Carr together. The young duo have similar personalities and a strong working relationship based on a love of the game.
“My relationship with Derek starts there,” Downing said in Wednesday interview on 95.7-FM. “We both love coming to work each day and respect the heck out of each other. When you have that kind of relationship with any coach, you’re taking a step in the right direction. Derek’s the leader of our franchise. In my opinion, he’s the best young quarterback in football. We’re fortunate to have him. Why wouldn’t I be in a good mood every time I am around him?”
Carr made great progress working with Downing the past two years, and was an MVP candidate in 2016. Downing sees continued room for growth and refinement as next season approaches.
“I think Derek made big strides in 2016, just in terms of his command of the offense, being the field general, being able to get through progressions more efficiently,” Downing said. “His footwork took big strides. I certainly want him to remain focused on all of those attributes. You don’t want to feel like you’ve arrived in a certain area of your game and then have it go backwards when the next season starts. Certainly, I want him focused on all of those.”