Locked out, Raiders take workouts to pool

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Locked out, Raiders take workouts to pool

May 27, 2011
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LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (AP) Rookie center Stefen Wisniewski is trying to learn the Oakland Raiders' offense without a playbook.And if that's not bizarre enough, the second-round draft pick from Penn State spent a couple of hours Thursday working with teammates at an indoor pool in suburban Atlanta.Such is life during the NFL lockout."It's crazy. I haven't even been out (to Oakland) because the lockout ended the day I was drafted," Wisniewski said. "So it's a blessing that (quarterback) Jason (Campbell) has been here to go over the blocking schemes and stuff like that. Getting on the field has been great."Defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who lives in the metropolitan area, organized the mini-camp.Wisniewski would likely be working at the Raiders' team headquarters in Alameda, Calif. - alongside his uncle, assistant offensive line coach Steve Wisniewski. Now Stefan Wisniewski isn't even allowed to talk to him."I haven't tried to contact him and he hasn't tried to contact me," Stefen Wisniewski said. "It's weird, but this is a strange time in the NFL."Oakland linebacker Quentin Groves can't imagine what it's like to be a rookie under these circumstances.No official mini-camp. No official offseason training activities."It kind of takes away from the rookie experience with the vets yelling at you. 'Hey, rook. You got all that money. Now it's time to show up,'" Groves said. "Now you're talking about these rookies just getting thrown into the fire. Mini-camp, OTAs - those things give you a little bit of a chance to get adjusted to the speed of the game, but if you take that away, all you have is training camp."And what if we don't have training camp? They'll just get thrown out there on the field. That'll be tough."About 25 players participated in the pool session, which was designed as a cross-training recovery workout after two days on the field and in the weight room."It's just getting them moving, getting their heart rate up and then we finish off with the (heavy resistance rubber) band work," said Competitive Edge Sports founder Chip Smith, who's hosting the camp with Seymour. "Some of these guys can't swim. That's OK. We put flotation devices on them, but hopefully we teach them a life skill."Wisniewski can swim, so that's no concern. Getting an understanding of the playbook is a different matter.That's where Campbell comes in. After playing last year under offensive coordinator-turned-head coach Hue Jackson, Campbell knows what's expected of Wisniewski on the field."I tried to go off some of the stuff Hue does in practice and some of the plays I've run before that I know he's real high on," Campbell said. "It's just a way to introduce it to the young guys for the terminology but also to reintroduce to myself and the other veterans."Linebacker Kamerion Wimbley learned enough from the pool session that he plans to follow the offseason training patterns of Groves and Campbell and make water activities a weekly routine."It's a total body workout," Wimbley said. "You work every muscle you can possibly think of. Your heart is pounding hard, and it's a very strenuous cardiovascular workout. There's everything tested in this workout."

Penn still haunted by only sack allowed in 2016; 'That play sticks with me'

Penn still haunted by only sack allowed in 2016; 'That play sticks with me'

Editor's Note: The above video is from Dec. 24, 2016.

Donald Penn was nothing short of awesome last season. The veteran Raiders left tackle proved impenetrable, allowing just one sack and 27 quarterback pressures in 676 pass-blocking snaps.

He ranked high among the NFL’s best left tackles at 33, engulfed a career renaissance that began after joining the Raiders three years ago. Penn made the Pro Bowl. He was a vital piece of a 12-4 team that helped the Raiders reach the playoffs.

He hasn’t reveled much in that. Penn’s driven by opportunities missed, and one mishap that haunts him still.

Penn locked horns with Indianapolis linebacker Trent Cole off the left edge during a Week 16 contest against the Colts, and slipped as he was tracking his man away from the pocket. Penn’s feet got tangled and the big man fell. Cole remained upright, darted in and sacked quarterback Derek Carr.

It was Penn’s only sack allowed all season. And Carr got hurt. He suffered a broken fibula that ended his season and realistic hopes of a Raiders playoff run.

Nearly five months have passed since that fluke play. Carr is healthy and a full participant in the Raiders offseason program. The Raiders offensive line might be better after allowing a league-low 18 sacks last season.

There’s plenty to be excited about as the Raiders enter OTAs and a mandatory minicamp. Penn can’t help but lament that isolated incident when Carr went down.

“You have to be an athlete. You try not to think about it too much,” Penn said Tuesday. “You wish you could go back and get it back. I’ve taken that same set I don’t know how many times, on the same field and never just slipped out of nowhere. I’m not going to put it on myself. I should have been able to do something better. You know me, I’m never going to blame the slip for happening. I should have blocked him and held on to him and taken him down with me. That play sticks with me.”

That isn’t all bad. It fuels Penn to continue growing as a player, even at 34 coming off an excellent Pro Bowl season.

“I’m going to try to do what I can do better and make sure it never happens again,” Penn said. “I’ve never gotten a quarterback hurt in my life since I’ve been playing. That was a first. That’s something I take pride in. I’m going to try my hardest to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Penn wants a different ending to this season. Last year the Raiders lost the AFC West crown and a shot to win the team’s first playoff game. Penn suffered a knee injury the following week that kept him from playing in the postseason.

The goal is to realize vast potential now that the Raiders offense is back healthy again.

“I’m all about karma and stuff like that,” Penn said. “Maybe (God is) trying to tell us that this is our year. We have to put in the work to get it. I know D.C. is happy, I’m dang sure happy to get him back. We’re growing and masterminding this offense trying to make it as explosive as possible.”

 

Raiders OTA observations: Conley, rookies must earn their stripes

Raiders OTA observations: Conley, rookies must earn their stripes

ALAMEDA – Rookies have been immersed in the Raiders system most of this month, but still have a lot to learn before training camp begins this summer.

There’s significant work ahead this spring during OTAs and mid-June’s mandatory minicamp, and young players will do so from the second and third teams. Even the highly touted ones.

First-round draft pick Gareon Conley played slot cornerback with the second unit and outside cornerback on the third during Tuesday’s OTA open to the media. It’s a position the slick, speedy cover man will vacate posthaste, but the Raiders prefer rookies earn their stripes.

“All of our young guys are going to earn their way,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “We have a good football team. We’re going to let them earn their way. We’ll let them compete. We’re early in the competition, so we’ll just go through the offseason and continue to get (Conley) involved and get him reps. These guys will ascend and take their positions as they earn it. We’re really happy with the way he’s started.”

The Raiders didn’t feature a single rookie on their first units Tuesday. Second-round safety Obi Melifonwu, fourth-round offensive tackle David Sharpe and middle linebacker Marquel Lee were featured on the second unit.

Here are some other observations from Tuesday’s OTA sessions.

-- Del Rio said Marshall Newhouse had the inside track to be the team’s starting right tackle. The versatile veteran worked there with the first team, joining a front five otherwise intact from a season ago.

-- Second-year pro Connor Cook, who switched from No. 8 to No. 18 this offseason, ran the second offensive unit. E.J. Manuel worked with the third team.

-- Inside linebacker Ben Heeney worked on a side field with a trainer during Tuesday’s practice, as he continues to rehab from surgery to repair an ankle broken early last season. Jelani Jenkins also did side work after practicing on Monday.

Cory James and Tyrell Adams worked with the first unit at inside linebacker.

-- Veteran running back Marshawn Lynch was limited to individual drills for a second straight day as the Raiders ease him back into football activity.

-- Offensive lineman Austin Howard is working his way back from offseason shoulder surgery, and only practice during individual drills.

-- Cornerback Sean Smith had offseason surgery, but was a full participant in Tuesday’s session.

-- Third-round defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes remains away from the Raiders complex due to an NFL rule preventing players from schools still in session to work with their teams. He won’t re-join the squad until training camp. Undrafted rookie Nicholas Morrow is in a similar spot, but will return next week.

-- Edge rusher Shilique Calhoun played last season at 250 pounds, but looks decidedly bigger now. He told the team website he’s up to 270 pounds.