The Raiders are entering their second day of mandatory minicamps and a few notable names took to the podium to speak with the media. Most notable was second-year defensive end Arden Key who first addressed his development during his rookie season.
“The game definitely slowed down for me,” said Key. “I’m just getting more comfortable playing in the NFL”
Key’s biggest fault in 2018 was that he had a difficult time finishing plays. “Coach [Brenston Buckner] had a whole clip of my almost 13 sacks,” said Key. “It was very nerve-racking because I could’ve had a better first year, but we all learn from those mistakes.”
Another worry that’s been floating around is that Key is underweight. Head coach Jon Gruden wants Key to weigh around 260 pounds, but he showed up to OTAs at 245 pounds. Key spoke on that by saying that he’s put on the weight and he’s now at 260. Key credited the “meal-prep guy” for his ability to gain weight so quickly. That issues can be put to rest now that Key has addressed it. He was asked if he was still as quick and explosive and Key confidently confirmed that he is. Key also spoke on the incoming rookie class.
“I love all of them,” said Key. “They’re coming in with good football IQs. All of them are good guys. All of them got talent, all of them can play.”
Despite the praise, Key still thinks he’s a better pass rusher than new rookie defensive end Clelin Ferrell. One of the more surprising things that Key touched on was that he underwent shoulder surgery in the offseason. It appears to be nothing major, but Key said he had his shoulder “cleaned out.” There was no report of this surgery during the offseason, so it seems like there’s no worry about Key’s health moving forward. Key is expected to improve in his second year and hopefully retain his spot as a starter.
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Special teams coach Rich Bisaccia also spoke to the media and noted that second-year punter Johnny Townsend has shown great improvement. This is promising considering his lackluster rookie season. Bisaccia also said that long snappers Trent Sieg and Andrew DePaola are in open competition for the spot.
Rookie running back Josh Jacobs gave an update about a potential movie about his life. He said that producers have reached out, but he’s still deciding what he wants to do. Jacobs was asked about his relationship with running back Doug Martin.
“He’s been like a big brother to me,” said Jacobs about Martin.
Jacobs is expected to play a big role for the Raiders in 2019 and seems to be getting along well with his new team. Rookie safety Johnathan Abram also made a quick appearance and touched on what it’s like playing with fellow safety Karl Joseph.
“It’s pretty fun,” said Abram about playing with Joseph. “We challenge each other to get to the ball first.”
The Raiders are heading into their second day of practice for minicamps.