Raiders OTA observations: Marshawn increases activity, remains limited

Raiders OTA observations: Marshawn increases activity, remains limited

ALAMEDA – Running back Marshawn Lynch practiced a bit more during the second week of Raiders OTAs than the first, but was still limited in his offseason work.

Lynch wore a helmet in a Tuesday OTA session open to the press, and participated in individual drills, some run-specific work and install periods, but wasn’t part of team periods in a practice without pads. Lynch frequently joined the first-team’s huddle, but watched those plays from a distance.

The Raiders are easing him back to action after a year away from NFL football, and aren’t concerned by limited participation during the offseason program. He has been around every day, and coaches have praised his work ethic since the Oakland native joined his hometown team.

“He has showed that it’s important to him to integrate himself into the scheme and into the locker room,” offensive coordinator Todd Downing said. “It’s been nice to have him around. He did a little more today. We’re excited about where he’s at. What we’ve seen from him so far has been outstanding.”

Here are some other observations and notes from Tuesday’s OTA session:

-- First-round cornerback Gareon Conley moved up the ranks some in the second week of OTAs. He was the first-team slot cornerback – TJ Carrie occupied that spot last week – and played inside and out with the second unit. He looked comfortable and covered No. 3 receiver Seth Roberts well on the inside.

Conley worked with the second and third units last week.

-- Offensive coordinator Todd Downing praised tight end Jared Cook’s blocking skills, and said versatility within the position group will allow him to be unpredictable while using multiple tight end sets.

-- Marshall Newhouse continues to sit in pole position at right tackle, taking all first-team reps at that spot.

-- Offensive linemen Austin Howard and Jon Feliciano and defensive tackle Darius Latham did not participate in Tuesday’s OTA session.

-- Undrafted rookie linebacker Nicholas Morrow returned to the team after missing last week’s OTAs while Greenville College completed its academic year. Third-round defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes remains out with UCLA still in session. 

-- Linebacker Jelani Jenkins participated in team drills Tuesday after being relegated to side work during the last open OTA session. Ben Heeney's activity increased a bit, as the middle linebacker worked in individual drills this time around.

Cory James and Tyrell Adams remained the first-team inside linebackers.

-- The Raiders offense was out of sync on Tuesday, with several receiver drops and poor passes. Even starting quarterback Derek Carr threw a pick six to David Amerson in team drills generally dominate by defense.

“There was a bit of a Memorial Day hangover, no doubt,” Downing said. “We need to iron out a couple things, but I like the effort. I think the attention to detail will come with everybody getting re-acclimated to OTAs and not on a holiday weekend. Overall, I was pleased with their attention and effort.”

Watch Antonio Brown's hype video that will get Raiders fans fired up

Watch Antonio Brown's hype video that will get Raiders fans fired up

Antonio Brown has heard all of the criticism, and he's ready to silence his doubters.

The star wide receiver had a turbulent offseason filled with cryptic social media messages and a demand to be traded away from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Brown's offseason odyssey finally came to a conclusion March 9, when the Steelers traded him to the Raiders.

The 30-year old's offseason antics caused many to label him as a "me-first guy" who isn't all about the team. Critics called him a diva wide receiver who would rather be on "Dancing With the Stars" than win a Super Bowl title.

But after being introduced as a Raider on March 13, Brown quickly has gone to work. He showed up at quarterback Derek Carr's house and then went to the field to build some chemistry with his new teammate. 

Brown captured his whirlwind week on video and cut them up to create a hype video that is sure to get Raiders fans fired up for the 2019 season. 

The four-time All-Pro selection put together another impressive season in 2018, tallying 104 receptions for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns with the Steelers. The addition of Brown, as well as wide receiver Tyrell Williams, should help boost a Raiders' aerial attack that ranked 18th in passing yards per game in 2018. 

[RELATED: Antonio Brown "excited" for a new challenge with Raiders]

After forcing his way out of Pittsburgh and landing a new three-year, $50.125 million contract with the Raiders, Brown wants to prove he's worth every penny.  

NFL rumors: Raiders hosting former Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict

NFL rumors: Raiders hosting former Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict

The Raiders are continuing to cast a wide net in hopes of adding a veteran linebacker to what is a thing group right now. 

On Tuesday, the Raiders are hosting Vontaze Burfict, NFL Media's Tom Pelissero reported. The veteran linebacker was cut by the Bengals on Monday, and has a long relationship with Oakland's defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. 

Guenther served as Burfict's defensive coordinator in Cincinnati for four seasons from 2014-2017. 

The 28-year-old Burfict has been in the spotlight for his multiple suspensions and acts of dirty play.. He's been suspended three times in his seven-year career, and missed the first four games last season due to violating the league's PED policy.

In 2018, Burfict played in seven games and finished with 33 tackles. 

[RELATED: Raiders have to help Paul Guenther after spending heavily on offense]

The news comes one day after the Raiders reportedly hosted linebackers Manti Te'o and Aaron Lynch. The Raiders currently have a trio of Marquel Lee, Jason Cabinda and Tahir Whitehead to trot out as their linebackers.