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. 

Key Raiders preseason dates, including HBO's 'Hard Knocks' episodes

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USATSI

Key Raiders preseason dates, including HBO's 'Hard Knocks' episodes

The Raiders have an interesting preseason ahead. They have three exhibition games on the road, including one in Canada. They’re headed to Napa for camp, which is possibly, though ultimately uncertain, the last time they will train in Wine Country, with their Las Vegas relocation scheduled for next year.

They have personalities to spare on this unit, which must bond to improve on last year’s 4-12 disappointment. They’ll do so under NFL Films’ watchful eye, with cameras everywhere filming this season’s HBO documentary series “Hard Knocks.”

[RELATED: Raiders mailbag: Defense still clearly behind offense]

Their training camp schedule hasn’t been made official, but Monday’s announcement of report dates gives the preseason some shape.

Here are key dates for the Raiders' summer plans:

As a note, Raiders training camp practices are only open to season-ticket holders and guests by invite only.

Tuesday, July 23: Rookies, first-year players, recently rehabilitating veterans and quarterbacks report for training camp in Napa.
Friday, July 26: Veterans report for training camp in Napa
Saturday, July 27: First full-squad training camp practice.
Monday, July 29: First padded practice in training camp
Tuesday, Aug. 6: “Hard Knocks” with the Raiders premieres at 10 p.m. on HBO
Wednesday, Aug. 7-8: Raiders host joint training camp practices with Los Angeles Rams in Napa
Saturday, Aug. 10: Exhibition opener vs. LA Rams at Oakland Coliseum
Tuesday, Aug. 13: Second episode of “Hard Knocks” airs at 10 p.m. on HBO
Thursday, Aug. 15: Exhibition No. 2 at Arizona Cardinals, 5 p.m. (ESPN)
Tuesday, Aug. 20: Third episode of “Hard Knocks” airs at 10 p.m. on HBO
Thursday, Aug. 22: Exhibition No. 3 vs. Green Bay Packers at IG Field in Winnipeg, 5 p.m. (Bay: KTVU; Vegas KVVU)
Thursday, Aug. 27: Fourth episode of “Hard Knocks” airs at 10 p.m. on HBO
Thursday, Aug. 29: Exhibition No. 4: Aug. 29: Exhibition No. 4 at Seattle Seahawks, 7 p.m. (Bay: KTVU; Vegas KVVU)
Saturday, Aug. 31: Rosters must be decreased from 90 players to the 53-man limit by 1 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 1: Claiming period ends for waived roster cuts at 9 a.m.
Sunday, Sept. 1: Teams may formally sign a 10-man practice squad
Tuesday Sept. 3: Final episode of “Hard Knocks” airs at 10 p.m. on HBO

Raiders will conduct joint training camp practices with Rams in Napa

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AP

Raiders will conduct joint training camp practices with Rams in Napa

The Raiders and L.A. Rams have agreed to conduct joint training camp practices on Aug. 7-8 in Napa, the Silver and Black announced on Monday.

Adding to the storylines the “Hard Knocks” producers have to follow, now the Raiders and juggernaut Rams will square off for two days of physical work prior to the Aug. 10 preseason opener for both teams at Oakland Coliseum. 

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and Rams counterpart Sean McVay are old family friends -- McVay also once worked on Gruden’s staff in Tampa Bay -- so the dynamic between the two quote machines should provide TV gold. As if there wasn’t enough to be mined from Antonio Brown, Vontaze Burfict, Richie Incognito and Derek Carr and a team moving to Las Vegas next year already.

These Raiders-Rams practices have been in the works for some time, and will mark the second straight year the Raiders are hosting these workouts in Napa. They practiced against the Lions last year, which proved incredibly productive.

[RELATED: Raiders Mailbag: Defense clearly still well behind offense]

The NFL also announced training camp report dates on Monday. Raiders rookies report to camp on July 23, with veterans due in Napa by July 26. The first full-squad practice is the 27th, with padded sessions a few days after that.