Raider Nation, it’s April 9th, the day you all were waiting for, mainly Jon Gruden. Today was the start of offseason workouts and now, finally, Gruden was able to get a better look at what he’s working with and whether or not some of these guys need to stay on this roster from the Jack Del Rio era.
The impression that I got for this first day of offseason workouts: everyone who needed to show up, well they showed up (Khalil Mack was absent) even though it’s not a mandatory workout because no one wants to make a bad impression in the eyes of Gruden.
The new additions on defense, CB Rashaan Melvin, LB Tahir Whitehead, DL Tank Carradine, OLB Emmanuel Lamur, and DB Marcus Gilchrist, are either starters or rotational guys to help fill spots that are key needs on the defense. I know a lot of you are wondering why Gruden brought in older guys for the defense, like Leon Hall, and resigned Reggie Nelson. Well, new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther was their former coordinator in Cincinnati. Bringing in these guys can help the other players compete and understand the new defense at a faster pace than trying to get the players to sit down and listen to the staff carry out a college course on it. Now you can do both.
When you look at the offensive side of the ball, you bring in RT Breno Giacomini, WR Jordy Nelson, RB Doug Martin, TE Derek Carrier, and Keith Smith. Out of these names, there is one who, in my opinion, will not be considered for a starting position and that’s Giacomini. Granted, he did work in offensive line coach Tom Cable’s blocking scheme in Seattle, but according to Pro Football Focus, he was abysmal in Houston this past season, giving up more pressures (81) than any offensive tackle in the league. Gruden has said Giacomini could be coming in to start but I think he’s saying that to give the guys that are on the roster from last season a spark to come fight for this job starting in offseason workouts.
Jordy Nelson will be sticking close to Derek Carr so the two create a rapport and we hear “Lil ARod to Nelson” on Sundays along with “AC/DC”. Keith Smith is the most exciting addition. He’s a big bruising fullback that can knock a man’s soul into the dirt and “Beast Mode” is going to love him, along with the other running backs; a true Gruden Grinder (in Gruden’s voice).
Do not forget the most important thing with these offseason workouts and that’s strength/conditioning, and Gruden brought in the best in Tom Shaw. Shaw is top of the line and has done great wonders with keeping Tom Brady and the Patriots up to par when they won their five Super Bowls. He has also worked with former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and current Raiders edge rusher Khalil Mack.
With Gruden getting Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday for four hours a day for the next two weeks, you can bet he’s going to make the very best of it. When I say today is an exciting day to be a Monday, take my word for it.