Patience starting to pay off for Raiders
The Raiders have six weeks off before they report to Napa for training camp on July 25, with the first practice scheduled for the 26th. (AP)
ALAMEDA -- The Raiders concluded their three-day minicamp at team headquarters in Alameda Thursday, and will try to stay sharp with more than six weeks off before reconvening in Napa for training camp on July 25.
Practice summary: The Raiders saved their best for last, turning in the sharpest of their three minicamp sessions on Thursday.
Where the quarterbacks began the minicamp looking less than polished on Tuesday, they played crisp and quick two days later.
Terrelle Pryor, after showing frustration when he missed a couple passes in route-running drills, opened up in 11-on-11 and connected on two consecutive 20-yard strikes to opposite sides of the field.
Juron Criner, who head coach Dennis Allen asked to step up on Wednesday, had a very strong performance. He didn't drop a ball, and made a number of tough catches in traffic. He lined up as Oakland's first-team slot receiver all day.
Just like Tuesday, the most down time came during the special teams periods, when coordinator Bobby April spent minutes installing the game plan for on-side kicks. April simulated different late-game scenarios on kickoffs and field goals.
The sidelines were crowded with college representatives, "guests of the coaches," we were told. It's not an uncommon practice in the football coaching community, and individuals from San Jose State, Sacramento State, Humboldt State and even a DII school in Pennsylvania observed video sessions before watching practice.
Allen said the team would be keeping tabs on its players during their break, but he's excited for the guys to get some time away, because "it's going to be a grind" once training camp hits. No playbooks or film will leave the facility, but players have plenty of notes to take home and study during their time off.
Offensive play of the day: Matt Flynn was well protected on the very first play of 11-on-11 drills, and waited for Denarius Moore to get separation on Tracy Porter. Flynn stepped up and sent a tight spiral 40 yards downfield, on the money for Moore to haul in in stride. The play sent Moore into the air for a celebratory back-bump after the would-be touchdown.
Defensive play of the day: Six-year veteran cornerback Mike Jenkins made the defensive play of the day, at the same time showing why he's not an offensive player. During the first 11-on-11 session, Jenkins cleanly jumped Flynn's pass over the middle, intended for Jacoby Ford. In position for the interception, the ball thumped off Jenkins chest and fell to the ground, drawing ambivalent reaction from the sidelines that both honored the great read, and acknowledged the dropped interception.
Rookie report: Quarterback Tyler Wilson had a strong day, looking comfortable in limited reps behind Flynn and Pryor. He connected on a great touchdown pass in 11-on-11 drills to Travionte Session around tight coverage, just as the two had hooked up an hour earlier in defense-free route-running drills. Rookie receiver Brice Butler, 6-foot-3 and 213 pounds, snagged a very nice fingertip catch on a pass from Pryor that was deftly tucked above inside coverage and below the safety.
On the sideline: WR Josh Cribbs, CB Taiwan Jones, CB Coye Francies, RB Latavius Murray, DT Johnny Jones, FB Jon Hoese, LB Miles Burris, DT Stacy McGee, WR Isaiah Williams, and TE Nick Kasa all sat out the entire minicamp. Cornerback Mike Jenkins was back on the field after leaving Wednesday's workout with a banged knee. But CB Phillip Adams, who pulled up lame with a hamstring issue Wednesday, did not participate Thursday.
Quote of the day: "That one had ears on it!"
-- Raiders special teams coordinator Bobby April after Sebastian Janikowski's wavering attempt from the 40-yard line just barely floated past the crossbar.