NAPA -- After spending the last 10 days going against their own defense, the Raiders' offense got a different look Wednesday during their first joint practice session with the Los Angeles Rams.
Much has been made of the Raiders' retooled offense, as quarterback Derek Carr now has more weapons at his disposal than ever before.
Carr and the Raiders' offense had a few moments Wednesday against Wade Phillips' defense, but the absence of Antonio Brown had an obvious impact on the offense.
Brown has missed all but part of one practice as he works through a mysterious foot ailment. WIth No. 84 nowhere in sight Wednesday and tight end Darren Waller also out, the Rams' defense was able to focus their attention on Tyrell Williams, forcing Carr into a number of dump-offs and quick throws to J.J. Nelson and the running backs.
The absence of Brown wasn't only a bummer for the Silver and Black, though. Rams head coach Sean McVay wished the dynamic receiver was out there to test his corners.
"Of course," McVay said when asked if he wished Brown was out there. "He's a great player. Anytime you get the chance to against a great player it can't help but make you better. So hopefully he makes a quick recovery. He's a special player, a guy that I've always loved watching compete from afar. I definitely hope that he's able to heal as quickly as possible. I would have loved to have gotten some work against him. That's a bummer for us all."
For his part, Carr was pleased with how the offense looked despite the missing pieces. In 11-on-11 drills, Carr went 11-for-19 with a touchdown pass in the red zone to running back Jalen Richard. He also had Williams for a deep touchdown but the receiver dropped a pass that Carr put in his hands.
While Brown might not be present at practice, the star receiver still is giving his input on the offense.
"Oh yeah, he's great about communicating," Carr said about Brown's involvement in camp. "Again, it's tough when he's not out there. It's tough for me not having that read or him in that matchup or whatever. But at the end of the day, I can play that in my mind and I know we had enough reps in the offseason to where I know "Oh yeah, he'll win.' Or, 'he's won on that every time.' Or I know where that ball is going in that coverage and things like that."
The Rams and Raiders will practice again Thursday before squaring off in their first preseason game Saturday at the Coliseum. Brown won't be making his Raiders debut against Aqib Talib and the Rams' secondary, but Carr and the Raiders still seem confident the offense will click when he arrives.
"He's somebody, he changes the way defenses play," Carr said. "He changes obviously what coach calls for him. You definitely wish he was out there, but we've had a lot of time on task, so it's not like what's the unknown? We know what it is and we know that when he's healthy and wh he's back, we'll be rolling."