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Oakland Raiders Report to 2014 Training Camp Eager and Optimistic

July 24th, 2014 at 11:43 AM
By Nicholas Gill

The time has finally arrived. The Oakland Raiders have reported to their 2014 training camp in Napa, California to begin serious preparations for the new season. The team has made significant changes to the roster this offseason in hopes of putting a better product of the field. That work beings at training camp.

“Now we have new players coming in after I’ve been here for a year; new players that are proven, so that gives it a little bit of added energy around here,” Charles Woodson said upon arriving. “We’re looking to capitalize on that.”

With all the changes and additions for the upcoming season, the Raiders have a new found optimism this training camp. Throughout OTAs and mini-camp, the Raiders have kept a positive attitude. The players, coaching staff, and organization feel this is a new year with more expectations.

“I’m ready to get started.” Woodson said. “There are some big feelings around here right now so I’m excited to get to work.”

Rookies like first-round pick Khalil Mack and second-round pick Derek Carr are embarking on their first training camp with the Raiders. Both are considered to be important parts of the Raiders future and present. Their development in camp is going to be crucial and they look forward to the learning process.

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Oakland Raiders 2014 Training Camp Competition Series: Cornerbacks Part II

July 23rd, 2014 at 10:54 AM
By Nicholas Gill

The Oakland Raiders have some interesting depth options at cornerback as training camp nears. The starting cornerback competition was discussed here in part one. In part two, we will look at the Raiders depth options at cornerback and the competition for roster spots.

Oakland selected Keith McGill in the fourth-round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He is a different type of corner than any other on the Raiders roster because of his size at 6-3, 205 pounds. He is going to have the opportunity to play his way into a role during training camp. As a rookie, he is going to have to learn and develop quickly, but McGill has a chance to be a rotational cornerback in 2014.

Taiwan Jones moved from running back to cornerback last season. He has yet to break into the rotation in the secondary, but provides tremendous value on special teams. He is Oakland's best special teams player and will earn his roster spot in that area. If he can continue to develop as a cornerback, it is icing on the cake for the Raiders.

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Oakland Raiders 2014 Training Camp Competition Series: Cornerbacks Part I

July 22nd, 2014 at 11:37 AM
By Nicholas Gill

The Oakland Raiders' cornerback position is one of the most interesting on the team. For the third straight season, the Raiders have brought in a new pair of cornerbacks to play a significant role in the defense. This time, Oakland signed two former San Francisco 49ers in Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers to pair with 2013 first-round pick DJ Hayden

Hayden has had a tumultuous start to his career with the Raiders. Injury concerns are prevalent with Hayden as he has battled several since getting drafted and his well-documented heart surgery prior to being drafted. He needs a full and healthy training camp to make the most of all the time he has missed. He is competing in training camp for a starting cornerback position, but needs those important reps and learning opportunities in camp to be ready.

Rogers comes to Oakland after starting 16 games for three consecutive seasons with the 49ers. He is expected to play the slot, but depending on what happen during training camp, especially with the health and development of Hayden, he could start on the outside. Rogers is 33-years-old, so he has to prove he can play at a high level to be part of Oakland's plan. They brought him in to be a major part of a secondary that struggled last season.

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Oakland Raiders 2014 Training Camp Competition Series: Safeties

July 21st, 2014 at 11:31 AM
By Nicholas Gill

The Oakland Raiders will receive a huge boost at safety with the return of Tyvon Branch. Branch missed almost the entire season in 2013 with a broken leg. He returns in 2014 to pair with Charles Woodson. Oakland also added seventh-round draft pick Jonathan Dowling to compete with Brandian Ross and Usama Young for back-up spots.

The Raiders are in good shape at safety. Although Woodson is entering his 17th season, he remains a productive player. Branch was the best player on the defense before all of the additions this offseason and he will look to take back his place among the best in 2014. Woodson and Branch will be the starters at safety, which never materialized last season with the Branch injury. The safety position is in good hands and should be a strength of the secondary.

The training camp competition heats up for the back-up spots behind Branch and Woodson. Three players will be battling for two roster spots. Brandian Ross filled in for Branch last season, but struggled mightily. The coaching staff still started him 13 games, where he recorded 75 tackles, two sacks and three pass defenses. He has serious improvement needed in order to be a part of the Oakland roster in 2014.

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Oakland Raiders 2014 Training Camp Competition Series: Outside Linebackers Part 2

July 18th, 2014 at 3:08 PM
By Nicholas Gill

In the previous two seasons, the Oakland Raiders have only kept five to six linebackers on the 53-man roster. If those numbers remain the same in 2014, the competition at linebacker during training camp is going to be serious. In part one of the outside linebacker competition series; we looked at players that are contenders for starting spots and playing time. In part two, we will look at the players battling in camp to earn roster spots and provide depth.

The Raiders main goal this offseason was to bring in players to add competition at every position. That has been accomplished at linebacker with Khalil Mack, Sio Moore and Kevin Burnett fighting for starting roles. Behind those players, the training camp competition really heats up. Oakland has Miles Burris, Kaelin Burnett, Kaluka Maiava, and sleeper Carlos Fields fighting for spots.

Burris is the mostly likely to have an impact in 2014. Like many of the other linebackers on the roster, Burris can be used in several ways. He is an option to be the back-up middle linebacker behind Nick Roach. He started 15 games in his rookie season at weak-side linebacker and has some ability to rush the passer on the blitz. Those attributes will help him find a niche on defense. He missed time last season with knee issues which cost him some development and set back his progress. He will need to have a strong training camp in order to solidify his value to the defense.

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