Raiders

Antonio Brown's OTA absence doesn't worry Raiders coach Jon Gruden

Antonio Brown's OTA absence doesn't worry Raiders coach Jon Gruden

ALAMEDA -- When Antonio Brown first became a Raider, he promised to bring accountability to the wide receiving corps. 

While the star receiver's offseason workouts with quarterback Derek Carr have been well-documented on social media, Brown was not present Tuesday during the first day of the Raiders' organized team activities program. 

Having a player like Brown be a no-show for the first day of OTAs would concern some coaches, but Raiders head coach Jon Gruden didn't seem bothered by Brown's absence. 

"Nah, he's not here today," Gruden said after practice Tuesday. "Hopefully, we'll see him here in the next couple days. He's been working extremely hard learning our offense and excited to get him out here. But in the meantime, we have plenty of balls to throw and plenty of receivers to throw too.

"I wouldn't read much into this, but I'm sure people will."

Brown's tumultuous exit from the Pittsburgh Steelers was well-chronicled. His relationship with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger deteriorated over time, something Roethlisberger apologized for Monday. An apology Brown appeared to respond to with a cryptic tweet

The four-time All-Pro selection has appeared to be making an effort to build a strong relationship with his new quarterback Derek Carr, although it was put on pause Tuesday due to Brown's absence. 

Gruden wasn't interested in playing quarterback-receiver matchmaker Tuesday.

"I'm not going to get into the relationship business," Gruden said. "You know, I think Brown is a great guy. I love having him here. Derek's a great guy. You can't rush a relationship. You just don't have a great relationship in three weeks or two months. It's something that you got to really earn and really work at and that's why it's important that we spend time together. I'm a little worn out with all the relationships and all the things that really don't matter right now."

While Brown was not present Tuesday in Alameda, the rest of the Raiders' new offensive weapons were. 

Carr connected on a deep pass with free-agent signing Tyrell Williams, and rookie Hunter Renfrow made a couple of nice snags during the day. 

"I mean a lot of football today is run-pass option where you stretch the team laterally," Gruden said. "Bubble screens, fly sweeps, but you also have to stretch them vertically. And if you can stretch the field vertically and horizontally you become a much more difficult offense to defend and that's a goal that we have had as we put together our team."

[RELATED: FIve questions facing Raiders entering OTAs, minicamp]

Brown will be a big part of that plan heading into 2019, and although the workouts are voluntary, it should be a little disconcerting that Brown was not present to work with his new offense.

It might not worry Gruden now, but it's an inauspicious start to Brown's Raiders career. 

Raiders' Derek Carr just trolling with Khalil Mack post, David Carr says

Raiders' Derek Carr just trolling with Khalil Mack post, David Carr says

It's been another offseason of rumors for Derek Carr.

Despite a solid 2019 campaign in Year 2 under Jon Gruden, whispers of the Raiders' interest in other quarterbacks, notably Tom Brady, have been circulating since the season ended. There also have been rumors the Silver and Black could look to trade Carr this offseason. Carr sent shockwaves of his own across social media earlier this week when he posted a photo of himself and former teammate Khalil Mack on Instagram, sparking speculation he could be headed to the Chicago Bears.

But, according to Carr's brother David, he was just having a little fun with the offseason rumor mill.

“His son’s favorite movie is Trolls. He’s just having fun. It’s the offseason,” David Carr said on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access."

While Derek Carr is used to questions about his job security being a topic of conversation, it appears the veteran quarterback is enjoying stoking the trade flames himself for once. 

But he might also be sending a message to the Raiders that other teams would love for him to be their starting quarterback if they don't.

The Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and others have been mentioned as possible landing spots for Derek Carr if he is traded. 

As for the Raiders' offseason plans at quarterback, it feels like the smart money is on Carr entering the season as the starter. While the Brady rumors have taken up all the oxygen, it feels like a stretch to suggest that the six-time Super Bowl champion would leave the New England Patriots at this point in his career. Of course, if Brady wants to wear silver and black, the Raiders have to make that happen.

[RELATED: Why Raiders should target Sanders to revamp receiving corps]

It seems likely Carr will take the first snap for the Raiders in Las Vegas with a free-agent acquisition occupying the backup role and looking to take over should Carr not take the next step head coach Jon Gruden wants to see.

If more rumors continue to pop up, don't be surprised to see Carr take to social media with another cryptic post.

Jon Gruden announces Raiders' minicamp will be in Las Vegas, not Alameda

Jon Gruden announces Raiders' minicamp will be in Las Vegas, not Alameda

The Raiders' move from Oakland to Las Vegas is ramping up.

Head coach Jon Gruden announced Saturday before Tyson Fury's win over Deontay Wilder in a heavyweight fight that the Silver and Black would host their mandatory minicamp at their new home in Sin City.

“If we can let everyone in, we will,” Gruden said on the big screen at the fight, via The Las Vegas Review-Journal.

It is unclear whether or not the Raiders will hold the event in Las Vegas or at the team's facility in Henderson, Nev., although the latter seems more likely.

The Raiders are expected to host their training camp in Napa next summer before shifting football operations to Nevada full time.

[RELATED: Why Raiders should sign Sanders to revamp receiving corps]

Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock face another important offseason as they look to continue the upward trajectory from last season.

The Raiders started Phase 1 of Gruden's rebuild last offseason. They had a historically successful draft class led by running back Josh Jacobs, cornerback Trayvon Mullen and defensive end Maxx Crosby

It will be imperative for Gruden and Mayock to hit on their draft picks again. The Raiders have the No. 12 and No. 19 picks in the first round. With a deep class of young wide receivers, the Silver and Black could greatly improve their offense if they call the right names in April when the draft will be held in April. 

With over $50 million in salary cap room, the Raiders also must navigate free agency successfully. There are a number of players they could pursue, including Tom Brady, but they must hit on their free-agent signings in order to make another leap up the AFC West ladder.