The Raiders held their first practice with pads on Wednesday and coach Josh McDaniels was interested in seeing how the team adapts.
“It’s the first time in months that they’ve had to carry them, and legs get a little heavy as the day goes on which is this phase of the year where you are trying to callous the body so you can kind of withstand the grind of the season,” he said. “And so many things showed up yesterday just from an individual technique perspective that we need to correct and fix and do better.”
One thing he’s looking forward to is how the team adapts to the new coaching staff. McDaniels said the group already has its own culture.
“What we do and how we do it, they are going to define it,” said McDaniels, who is in his first year coaching the Raiders. “We try to set an expectation and a standard of what we are looking for, but ultimately, they are going to do it. And they hold one another accountable to that standard and they have a lot of fun doing it.”
One of the best aspects about this team, McDaniels said, is that the players genuinely like each other.
“I think this game is a difficult game, but it’s more difficult when you don’t like the guys you are doing it with, and I don’t see that at all. I really think this group enjoys being around one another. They have fun coming to work. We laugh. None of you might not think that, but we do. We laugh and there’s things that happen during the course of the day.”
The early parts of camp, however, are more about the fundamental aspects of the game, McDaniels said. Particularly blocking.
“The most fundamental aspects of our game are blocking, defeating a block and literally those are the things we are really going to try to focus on and we coached that yesterday afternoon, yesterday evening,” he said. “There is not a lot of new stuff going in (on Thursday). We are going to try to go back to some of the things we did yesterday and hopefully see some progress because our big thing is we don’t get many days like this where we get to redo a bunch of things … We don’t get many opportunities to do this, so today is a great opportunity for us to make progress individually, which obviously then will collectively make us better. A lot of technique things, fundamental aspects of the game that we haven’t been able to do that we were able to do for the first time and now we have a shot to improve them.”