Raiders

Jon Gruden details 'launching pad' for Raiders offensive line alignment

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Jon Gruden details 'launching pad' for Raiders offensive line alignment

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders have some versatile offensive linemen capable of playing both sides of center Rodney Hudson.

Head coach Jon Gruden detailed exactly where they’ll play at a Friday media session during Raiders rookie minicamp, formally stating that expensive free-agent addition Trent Brown will play right tackle and 2018 first-round pick Kolton Miller will remain on the left. Last year’s third-round pick Brandon Parker will be the swing tackle.

“We like that as a launching pad for us,” Gruden said. “Trent played very well as a right tackle in San Francisco and left tackle very well for New England. He gives us some versatility. That’s how we’re going start the show.”

That arrangement was formally confirmed, but Gruden offered some new information on Gabe Jackson. The standout guard will remain on the right, where he has played the last three seasons.

He played left guard exclusively in college and two NFL seasons before that but switched sides after Kelechi Osemele came aboard in 2016.

Jackson and Brown will form a formidable pair flanking elite-level center Rodney Hudson, who will continue as the offensive line’s leader.

There is, however, one question mark left.

“The door’s wide open at left guard,” Gruden said. “We’re going to continue to look for players to come in and compete at that position.”

GM Mike Mayock said last week that Denzelle Good was the leader in that competition, but wanted more before writing his name in pen.

[RELATED: How Hunter Renfrow got great hands from mom]

“You know, he played pretty well at the end of last season. I’m not sure, you know, he’s going to have to prove to us that he’s the long-term answer,” Mayock said. “He had some initial success at Indy (Indianapolis Colts) at tackle. He wasn’t able to sustain it. You know, so we need him to be consistent. I mean that’s going to be his challenge because he has the natural ability and size to be a starting guard in the NFL but he’s got to sustain it and be more consistent.”

The Raiders didn’t address the guard position in the NFL draft, though it was under consideration. They have guard/center Jordan Devey in the mix, but he might be an ideal super-sub on the inside. Chaz Green has NFL experience on the inside, with a few undrafted players also now on the squad. Good is the frontrunner and could remain that way unless a new combatant enters the fray.

 

Jason Witten's leadership crucial for Raiders during 2020 NFL season

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Jason Witten's leadership crucial for Raiders during 2020 NFL season

Two notable Raiders additions in the offseason, tight end Jason Witten and linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, met with the media via a Zoom call Monday.

Here are five takeaways on what was said.

1. One major reason the Raiders brought in Witten, who became one of the NFL’s top tight ends over 16 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, was for his veteran leadership. Coach Jon Gruden even asked Witten to speak to the team a few days ago about the importance of high character.

“It’s vital,” Witten said. “This league’s too hard regardless of how talented you are, and I shared this with the guys. … The margin for error is so small in this league that’s how you have to approach it. I was blown away by the skill set. You can see it. I’ve also seen the guys love football. They work hard. They’re accountable.”

Read more at the Las Vegas Review-Journal

 

Raiders rookie Henry Ruggs' insane one-handed catch shows potential

Raiders rookie Henry Ruggs' insane one-handed catch shows potential

It's no secret how fast Raiders rookie receiver Henry Ruggs is. With his 4.27 40-yard dash speed, he's in the end zone in the blink of an eye.

The Raiders were enamored with Ruggs' speed, and rightfully so. That certainly played a big role in the Silver and Black selecting the former Alabama receiver with the No. 11 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. But it wasn't the only reason. 

Ruggs had some of the best hands in the draft, and he proved that with an insane one-handed grab for a touchdown early on in Raiders training camp. 

It's easy to see why the Raiders fell in love with Ruggs before the draft. He tallied 86 receptions for 1,487 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns his final two years for the Crimson Tide. Ruggs should have a big role in the offense, and the hope is he connects right away with quarterback Derek Carr. 

So far, so good. 

Ruggs should be used all over the field as a rookie, as the Raiders find ways to get the ball in his hands. And it appears he will start off in the slot. 

[RELATED: Raiders rookie Edwards compared to two Pro Bowl wideouts]

“We’ll start with Ruggs III in the slot and do some things with Ruggs III," offensive coordinator Greg Olson said to reporters last week, via Raiders Wire. "But those guys (Ruggs and Bryan Edwards) are very multiple in what they can do and that’s the goal is to be able to move all of them around to different spots; the one, two or three position at the wide receiver.”

Whether it be on the inside or outside, Ruggs will play a big part in the Raiders' offense right away. His ridiculous one-handed grab was just another preview of what's to come.