Raiders

Watch Antonio Brown mic'd up at Raiders mandatory minicamp practice

Watch Antonio Brown mic'd up at Raiders mandatory minicamp practice

"Let's put a show on today."

Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown was chatting with quarterback Derek Carr during a recent mandatory minicamp and we were able to hear it all during an installment of "Mic'd Up."

The two went out on to the practice field and it was apparent Brown hasn't slowed down since being acquired by the Silver and Black.

He makes it look effortless as he grabs everything within reach all while receiving compliments from his quarterback.

As the team stood around on the sidelines, coach Jon Gruden added to the nice words saying AB was "killing it." And Brown responded in the most Brown-like way by saying he's going to kill it every day for Gruden.

[RELATED: AB sets a new standard during Raiders offseason]

AB has been truly dominating in his role being called the hardest worker Gruden has ever seen. The receiver came into his new digs fully prepared, and is not afraid to shy away on giving the team feedback while receiving advice from others as well.

This season will be an interesting one. 

Jon Gruden looking for more production from Raiders edge rusher Arden Key

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AP

Jon Gruden looking for more production from Raiders edge rusher Arden Key

ALAMEDA – Arden Key had a strong preseason. The second-year edge rusher showed significant improvement in his run defense, with gains in size and strength that aid his pass rush.

Quality summer work hasn’t set him on a hot start. Key has just three quarterback pressures – one quarterback hit and two hurries – in his first two games.

He has played a total of 52 snaps, with 40 of those rushing the passer.

They haven’t been terribly productive early in the year. The Raiders were hoping for the opposite, to get quality from Key as a situational pass rusher.

That hasn’t been the case to this point, something head coach Jon Gruden was frank about during his Monday press conference.

“We have got to get more out of Arden. I’ve said that for long enough,” Gruden said. “Arden, if you are listening, we got to get you going. He’s a good player. He’s had a good training camp; he’s healthy.

“We put our defensive line in some tough spots yesterday for a lot of reasons to try and stop their running game, and it did stymie I think some of the guys’ ability to rush the passer, but Arden is going to get home. Arden is going to take off here hopefully soon.”

Key is generally active in the sub package, working with Maxx Crosby or Benson Mayowa on the edge and Clelin Ferrell and other rotating rusher on the inside.

The Raiders need production from Key to make that package successful, lest last year’s pass-rushing struggles linger on in 2019.

Raiders' Tyrell Williams, Darren Waller need help from receiving corps

Raiders' Tyrell Williams, Darren Waller need help from receiving corps

ALAMEDA –Tyrell Williams is the Raiders’ unquestioned No. 1 receiver, operating with all the attention accompanying that distinction.

He still has managed to produce like one, with 11 catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns during the season’s opening weeks. Tight end Darren Waller is the second receiving option despite his official position, moving around the formation to create favorable matchups.

The Raiders don’t have many viable receiving options after that.

Ryan Grant is starting now with Antonio Brown in New England, and he had minus-2 yards and one catch on five targets. Hunter Renfrow had four catches for 30 yards on eight targets. Dwyane Harris isn’t much of a receiving threat -- he’s also dealing with an ankle issue -- and Keelan Doss remains a work in progress.

“We have to do a better job of winning when it’s one-on-one,” head coach Jon Gruden said in his Monday press conference. “We have to do a better job of consistently winning. We had some problems with the footing yesterday. I think Hunter Renfrow fell down four or five times and slipped. … Our footing was a problem.

“We certainly have to get more out of Ryan Grant. We have to game plan better. We’ll start right there.”

Receiving corps troubles don’t start with the offensive game plan. That’s just fine, brought up in an attempt to circumvent a significant dropoff from the top two receiving threats.

The Raiders and their fan base are certainly sick of hearing about Brown, but this is where his departure remains relevant. Not only did the Raiders lose a Hall-of-Fame type talent, they lost one just days before the regular season. That left no time to find a suitable replacement.

The Raiders banked on Brown, a decision that has proved ill advised. Gruden created packages for him to thrive in this offense and maximize his game-breaking ability.

The chasm between Brown and Grant is wide, something that can’t be covered before free agency or next year’s draft.

Receiver also was clearly a team strength that has fallen back to the pack with Brown’s departure. Keeping him around wasn’t going to work, but losing him still hurts the on-field product.

Waller is proving to be a special player the Raiders must involve even more, especially when working downfield.

[RELATED: Carr frustrated by refs, offense in Raiders' loss to Chiefs]

“Waller is growing into something,” Gruden said. “He’s a guy that we detached yesterday. We lined him up in the slot and conventionally as a tight end. He’s smart and has had some receiving production. More and more, we’re going to use him.”

Grant and Renfrow have to balance the stat sheet a bit more, with the running backs more involved than they have been to keep additional focus off the top two receiving targets.