August 17th marked the first day of padded practices for the Las Vegas Raiders. For all of the football junkies, this is the true beginning of the season.
Covid-19 has forced many changes and greatly disturbed everyday life. However, with football back in the swing of things, it brings an escape, a sign of hope and some feelings of normalcy. When the pads come on it offers teams a glimpse as to where exactly it is that they really stand.
To hit or not to hit?
A lot of guys manufacture bravado and talk big games. The studs in helmets and shorts can be drill junkies. Even the speed guys can dazzle with footwork and be 7-on-7 magicians. Nevertheless, nobody can hide the fact they don’t like to get hit.
Football is a contact sport played in pads and a helmet. A sport where grown men run full speed and crash headlong into each other like human bumper cars. Every football coach worth his money looks forward to the first day when pads come on. Raiders’ head coach Jon Gruden is from the old school and was surely waiting for this moment.Â
It’s time to tune up to the Raiders press conferences
Gruden has said many things about his players in helmets and shorts. Things like calling his backup quarterback “a dazzling playmaker,” will be forgotten. Also, hyperbolic comments such as admiring the “Dawg” inside of Damon Arnette will fade. Henry Ruggs III is tentatively starting in the slot. Bryan Edwards, who has been opening eyes and turning heads, he’s starting out wide too.
Now that padded practices have begun, it’s time for paying attention to the press conferences. Raiders beat reporters will tell you whom you should watch. The coordinators will summarize who fits their vision and who isn’t. Even the players will be vocal in support of guys who are impressive. At some point, the national media guys will make contact and get all the juicy details on everything Silver and Black.
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Top Photo: Ed Zurgas/Associated Press