Raiders notes: Richie Incognito making positive impression on coaches


Raiders notes: Richie Incognito making positive impression on coaches

ALAMEDA – Left guard Richie Incognito signed with the Raiders on May 28 and was inserted into the first unit that same day. Denzelle Good was unavailable for the afternoon OTA session, and the 35-year-old Incogntio stepped right in without skipping a beat.

He came to Alameda in great physical shape, prepared to re-join a team after a year away from the NFL.

Good hasn’t returned yet, giving Incognito plenty of opportunities to make a good first impression. That included Tuesday afternoon’s minicamp practice, where the four-time Pro Bowler worked again with the first-unit offensive line.

“He’s pretty good,” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said Tuesday, during this week’s Raiders minicamp. “I like him. He’s a Pro Bowl left guard. The last time he strapped it on, he wasn’t just good. He was one of the best.”

Gruden wanted to bring an established veteran in at that spot, with Good the primary option after Kelechi Osemele was traded this offseason to the New York Jets.

“We need to solidify that position," Gruden said. "It was a sore spot for us last year. We played four different left guards, and that hurt us. We had injuries and more injuries and then we had some more. Hopefully Richie finds his stride like he had a couple years ago. When he’s right, he’s one of the best in football.”

Incognito also comes with some baggage after several off-field incidents, including a few within the last year. One that resulted in a disorderly conduct conviction that could bring a NFL suspension, something the Raiders are aware might happen. He also walked away from the Bills, before stepping away from football last year. But, Gruden believes Incognito’s fully committed to this Raiders endeavor and doing it right.

“I’ve spent a lot of time talking with Richie, and this is not a far-fetched comeback that he’s trying to make,” Gruden said. “This is something he has thought a lot about. He walked away from the game for very good reasons; I’m not going to get into that. We like where he is. We like what he’s done and the potential of what he can do for us.”

Joint practices with Rams possible

Gruden and LA Rams head coach Sean McVay have spoken a few times about coordinating joint training-camp practices in Napa heading into the preseason opener in Oakland, but nothing is set in stone at this point.

“Nothing is 100 percent finalized yet,” Gruden said, “but, if possible, I think that might benefit both of us. We are in the final stages of trying to work something out.”

If the Rams come to town, they would be featured with the Raiders on “Hard Knocks.” The Silver and Black will be the team followed on this year's show.

New travel plans

The Raiders left for their 2018 game in London at the last possible minute. They arrived in England on a Friday and played two days later. While that wasn’t the only reason the Seattle Seahawks kicked the Raiders’ tail, it certainly didn’t help.

Gruden is changing course this season, leaving right after a road game at Indianapolis to spending the week in England preparing to play the Chicago Bears at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

“You try to research it, some people try to stay the least amount of time as possible because they want to put the preparation in at home and not be in a foreign country, in a different bed for five or six nights,” Gruden said. “This year, I think we will probably go over after that game (at the Colts) and get acclimated to the time zone and get ready for Chicago, but will address that here in the next couple months.”

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This ‘n that

The Raiders looked crisp in their first minicamp practice on Tuesday, the final stretch of this year’s offseason program, despite running it in 100-degree heat. … Wide receiver Antonio Brown was a highlight as usual, beating safety Curtis Riley bad on a deep touchdown pass. He never let a ball hit the turf, and showed excellent sideline skill yet again. … Owner Mark Davis was at Tuesday’s practice, speaking with general manager Mike Mayock, equipment manager Bob Romanski, several players and agent Drew Rosenhaus during the session. … Cornerback Gareon Conley was among a few prominent players missing Tuesday’s on-field work. Nick Nelson and Nevin Lawson filled in for him at outside cornerback. Linebacker Brandon Marshall, offensive linemen Jordan Devey, Denzelle Good, cornerback Isaiah Johnson and wide receiver Saeed Blacknall did not practice, though the entire squad was in Alameda for the mandatory three-day stretch. … Rookie wide receiver Keelan Doss showed strong route running with one well-timed catch in particular showcasing that ability. … Punter Johnny Townsend had a good day in special-teams periods, with Hunter Renfrow, Dwayne Harris, Jalen Richard and Rico Gafford back returning them.

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


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


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.