NAPA -- The Raiders take over the Napa Valley Marriott each summer. Coaches, scouts, business personnel and the entire 90-man roster shack up here deep into August for training camp with invited season-ticket holders pouring in for each practice adjacent to this swanky hotel.
Their entourage is a bit bigger this time, with a 32-person NFL Films crew documenting the team’s every move for the popular “Hard Knocks” HBO documentary show.
The crew has been around since rookies reported on Tuesday, and cameras have been with star players and others with interesting backgrounds prior to that.
The Raiders weren’t thrilled to be this year’s feature subject. Plain and simple: it’s a distraction, even with the NFL Films crew making every effort to blend into the background.
“We’re on the record as saying the Raiders did not invite the 'Hard Knocks' cameras in,” Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said. “You guys all know that. That’s where we are.”
That’s coming from someone who has spent extensive time at the NFL Films’ New Jersey offices, knows several crewmembers on the ground in Napa and has great respect for the documentarians integral in popularizing the NFL.
While the Raiders were openly against being on the show, Mayock believes the team is handling the situation as well as possible.
“Bottom line for me: Jon and I are old school,” Mayock said. “The reason you go away for training camp, is to get away from all the distractions. You want to bond with no distractions or intrusions.
“‘Hard Knocks’ is an intrusion, but it was handed to us and it’s up to us to deal with it. I really feel like we’re handling it in a professional way. Tim Rumpf from NFL Films, their director, has done a great job. We’ve been in communication every single day. We’ve come up with a plan where we feel like they can get what they need and we can get what we need to get done. So far, it has been great.”