NAPA -- The massive media scrum waited for Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio following Saturday's opening training camp practice, significantly larger than normal. There's a palatable buzz surrounding these AFC title contenders, but alone that didn't create density around the podium.
The Raiders are serving two markets. Las Vegas reporters turned out in droves, as they did throughout the offseason program. Several members of that market cover the Raiders full time, devoting energy to a team that won't formally relocate for two and possibly three years while a new Raiders stadium is built just off the Las Vegas Strip.
Raiders players and coaches are rooted in the present, unconcerned with anything beyond a season loaded with expectations.
"We’re about invested in the here and now," Del Rio said "Obviously there are people in our organization that have to work on things that pertain to that, but that’s not where we are. Players and coaches, we’re locked in. Our focus is on being as good as we can be here and now. Right now we’re in Napa and we need to get our work done in Napa, and then we’ll be the Oakland Raiders this year.
"I talk to people about it all the time and I say an NFL season is almost like how you look at dog years. It’s like, add seven to it. We’re going there in like 21 years. Right now we’re just going to focus on becoming a really good football team and learning how to sacrifice and how it all fits together.”
Las Vegas doesn't fit into the football equation until possibly 2019 -- the team's lease with Oakland Coliseum ends after 2018 -- with 2020 as a more likely move date.
Las Vegas will come up among this group primarily when someone asks about it. Players and coaches will walk a tight rope with each answer, trying to honor their present and future homes without slighting a region. Quarterback Derek Carr learned this offseason about that delicate balance, unintentionally irking some with a passing phrase. While the Las Vegas topic won't go away and vocal minority will protest owner Mark Davis' decision to relocate at home games, player
"There’s no book on how to do this situation," Carr said. "No one has done it yet. This is a weird deal, right? But we’re so focused on what we’re doing that it doesn’t matter. We can talk about it and high, low, whatever you want to do, but at the end of the day we have to show up and play football. That is how we stay focused. Obviously, like I said, it’s years down the road. My kids will be a lot bigger by then. I have a lot more things I want to do here first before we get to that.”