NAPA – Jon Gruden made Connor Cook’s life difficult on Monday morning. The Raiders head coach likes to do that with his quarterback, to test and push and prod.
That was the case in the first practice after Cook’s solid showing in a 16-10 preseason victory over the Lions. Cook might’ve played his best football as a professional against Detroit, leading three scoring drives in five series.
He showed poise inside the pocket and out, making smart and accurate throws.
Cook wasn’t quite so crisp in Monday’s practice, struggling some when Gruden threw adversity his way.
“Well, he did some positive things (against Detroit),” Gruden said. “I liked the look in his eye. I thought he was confident, he was in control, and again he moved the football team and did some good things.
“We made it hard on him today, put him in some tough positions. You don’t get a chance to read your clippings and celebrate your press conferences for long in this business. So, hopefully he got his eyes opened today and can learn from his film. He obviously missed a couple throws we expect him to hit.”
He looked frustrated after poor quarterback-center exchange, missed on some throws and drew Gruden’s ire when he didn’t properly break the huddle. Overall, however, Cook feels like he handled a strenuous day decently wel.
“I thought I did okay,” Cook said. “There were some blitz pickups I could’ve done a better job correcting and I missed some throws, but that’s why you practice. You want to learn and get better and perfect your craft and then be better the next time.”
Gruden insists the backup quarterback job remains up for grabs, though Cook seems to be in the No. 2 slot right now. EJ Manuel will get extra work in Saturday’s preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams.
Consistency will be key in Cook’s quest for the No. 2 job, both in practice and games.
“The goal is to be the best version of myself in every game, every practice,” Cook said. “You have to keep your foot on the gas every single day.”
The Raiders had a secondary scare on Monday when cornerbacks Rashaan Melvin and Daryl Worley ran into each other covering crossing routes.
Worley was down on the grass for a few minutes, but eventually left under his own power. He did not return to practice, and left the field shortly after. Gruden did not have an immediate update on Worley’s health.
Melvin was able to continue practicing.
Cornerback Gareon Conley was somewhat limited in his return from a hip injury, though he participated in individual and team periods. He worked primarily with the second unit, but played with the top crew after Worley went down.
Arden Key (ankle) and Brandon Parker (ankle) also returned after missing some practice and Friday’s game.
Gruden said Martavis Bryant missed practice dealing with headaches, and Seth Roberts remains out with an undisclosed ailment. Obi Melifonwu missed yet another practice, though Gruden did not update his status. Breno Giacomini has a knee injury that has kept him out most of training camp.
Donald Penn worked out for coaches on Saturday, but he remains on the physically unable to perform list recovering from foot surgery. Gruden didn’t update his status, either.
This ‘n that
Jordy Nelson made the catch of the day on Monday, hauling in a beautifully thrown deep shot from Derek Carr with Melvin trailing in coverage. He quietly continues to have a strong training camp. …Griff Whalen worked with the first unit as a slot receiver, as he did in Friday’s game. Ryan Switzer was primarily a second-unit player in the game. …WR Saeed Blacknall left practice early with an undisclosed ailment. …David Sharpe and Ian Silberman rotated playing right tackle with the first unit.