The start of training camp has been eventful with Donald Penn holding out, early round draft picks signing deals late, and Gareon Conley getting exonerated. Perhaps, the biggest piece of news (personally) is that I will be covering my first Raiders training camp thanks to the SF Chronicle’s amazing beat writer, Vic Tafur!
It’s been a dream for me to get close to the action and watch the formative weeks of the season to watch the team develop first-hand, so I’m pretty excited. Obviously, I will keep you updated on Twitter and on Instagram (@RaidersAnalysis). So follow those accounts if you haven’t yet.
BEFORE WE GET INTO THE NITTY GRITTY
A lot of you have been asking for ways to support my work, which I am so thankful for by the way. I want to make this a full time gig and instead of asking for donations, I’m going to design some gear, starting with “The Nation” hat.
You've made it!! Lol 😂 pic.twitter.com/SEVCIdaF2K
— Anthony Rodriguez (@ARod75) July 31, 2017
I freaking love this hat! #RAIDERNATION ☠️☠️☠️
— Josephine Skriver (@JosephinSkriver) July 31, 2017
Victoria Secret model, Josephone Skriver recently posted a picture with it and tweeted that she loves it! The hats were sold out in less than 24 hours. Back orders are available for the next shipment. –>LINK
Biggest Camp Battles
For the first time in years, the Raiders starting-22 is pretty set for the most part. There are still a few positions that are up for grabs though. Click on the links to read more:
Training Camp Emphasis Offensive Emphasis
The Raiders finished 6th in offense, but have the potential to finish in the top 3 next year. Even with a new offensive coordinator in Todd Downing, they will be running the same system so they will have another year of continuity. They added a dangerous weapon in the middle of the field with Jared Cook.
However, there are a couple of things that they really have to put an emphasis on during training camp if the offense wants to take the next step:
Some analysts will tell you to contain your excitement on Marshawn Lynch, but not this one. I believe Lynch will be limited to around 15 carries a game but will still have a huge impact on the running game. Subscribe to my youtube channel and find out why!
My take on Penn Situation
From a fan’s perspective, I get it. We want our team’s players to take less for the good of the team. I understand how it looks because Penn just signed a contract last year. However, lets try to look at it from Penn’s perspective.
- Last year, he might have an offer for more money from the New York Giants but took less because he wanted to be a Raider.
- He ranks 23rd in left tackle salary.
- He played like at least a top 10 left tackle last year. He only gave up one sack, the entire year. Do you realize how hard that is to accomplish? Especially, with all of the 5-man/ 6-man protections that the Raiders use. He was also a dominate run blocker. I’d argue that he was a top 5 run blocking tackle.
- The discrepancy between his level of play and level of pay is too large and he only has a couple of years in the league to turn earn a big contract.
- Penn has always been under-appreciated and never got a big left tackle contract. He knows this is last chance. Who could blame him for trying?
Check out the DBL team from Penn and Osemele. Murray you gotta make that cut! pic.twitter.com/l11FiLMlMh
— Ted Nguyen (@RaidersAnalysis) March 18, 2017
Of course, the Raiders brass cannot give into Penn’s demands too easily or it sets a dangerous precedence for situations like this in the future. Reggie Mckenzie has hinted that he is willing to negotiate if Penn comes to camp. I think they know that Penn deserves more money but Penn is going to have to end his holdout to start the process. I believe this situation will get sorted out shortly. The Raiders have more than enough cap room left to give Penn a 3-5 million dollar raise, which would raise his salary into the top ten left tackle range that he desires.