Raiders expect Antonio Brown to be ready for season opener vs. Broncos

Raiders expect Antonio Brown to be ready for season opener vs. Broncos

NAPA – Antonio Brown still is rehabbing frostbitten feet. The superstar receiver doesn’t have a formal timetable to return to practice, though his work with a foot specialist is done and he’s now back in Raiders training camp.

The Raiders don’t practice again until Saturday, with a preseason game at Arizona that Brown obviously will skip.

While his return to practice is uncertain, head coach Jon Gruden had no problem proclaiming he’ll be ready for Week 1 against the Denver Broncos.

“Oh yeah,” Gruden said. “Yup.”

Brown will need some time to get re-acclimated to the Raiders' offense, but it shouldn’t take much time. He’s a precise route runner, works extremely hard in practice and spent extensive time with Derek Carr this offseason building chemistry.

The offense looks and runs at a different pace with Brown involved, so the unit as a whole must find some sync. That still doesn’t guarantee Brown will see action in the preseason. He wasn’t expected to before his foot issues, which have kept him out of every practice save one. It still seems unlikely, even after all this. 

“I don’t know. That remains to be seen,” Gruden said. “We’re going to try and get a couple of the starters some work in Arizona. We’re still in a process of thinking things through for the Canada trip.”

That third exhibition vs. Green Bay in Winnipeg would be the only opportunity to get Brown involved. The preseason finale at Seattle is just too close to the regular season to explore.

Brown said he feels much better, but his rehab is ongoing.

“I’m working towards 100 percent,” Brown said. “It’s a process with the feet and the time it takes. With the blisters, it’s hard to change direction, cut and run and be able to do what I do naturally. I’ve been away getting in a lot of work, and I’m excited for the opportunity to get back out there."

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It seems set he’ll be out there on Sept. 9 against the Denver Broncos, when it really matters.

“We’ll work him back in,” Gruden said. “Obviously, it’s great to have him back. We’ve had a pretty good understanding, in spite of what people think, about what’s going to happen. Now we’re ready to get rolling.”

Raiders' Marcus Mariota 'dazzling' Jon Gruden so far in training camp

Raiders' Marcus Mariota 'dazzling' Jon Gruden so far in training camp

Marcus Mariota wasn't brought in with the expectation of being a starting quarterback for the Raiders in Year 1.

But early in training camp for Las Vegas, Mariota's athleticism and ability to make plays already are making an impression on his new coaching staff.

“He’s interesting. He took off a couple times today and really fired me up,” Gruden said after Friday’s practice (h/t RaidersWire). “He’s been hurt. Looked like the ankle has really turned the corner. He’s a dazzling playmaker with his feet and that’s the key to his game. I saw glimpses of that today and it was exciting. Started off slow in 7-on-7 but picked it up and had a really nice day.”

[RELATED: Raiders coach likens newcomer Collins to All-Pro DT Atkins]

After being the starting QB for the Tennessee Titans in each of his first four NFL seasons, he was usurped by Ryan Tannehill on the depth chart after being benched during a Week 6 loss. Tannehill started the remainder of the season as Tennessee advanced to the AFC Championship Game before losing to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Derek Carr is solidified as QB1 for the franchise's first season in Las Vegas, but don't count out Mariota to have some kind of a role in the offense week to week. Now that Gruden has seen it up close and personal, he'll have a hard time keeping Mariota's eye-popping speed on the sideline.

[RAIDERS TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Raiders’ Maxx Crosby returns from COVID-19 reserve list after one week

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Raiders’ Maxx Crosby returns from COVID-19 reserve list after one week

Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby has been activated from the COVID-19 list and cleared to return to the team.

He was on the practice field at the team facility for Friday morning’s training camp practice.

Crosby, who led the team with 10 sacks as a rookie last season, went on the list Aug. 6 and missed a week of camp.

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