With the start of padded practice on Monday for the Oakland Raiders, the offense and defense have been battling it out. The offense has started off strong, but the defense has definitely made their fair share of plays. With weapons like Tyrell Williams, Antonio Brown and Josh Jacobs all over the Raider offense, the defense is going to have their work cut out for them. Fortunately, competing against the best in practice will prepare the defense for their opponents. LaMarcus Joyner is among the new members of the silver and black that’s looking to make an impact and he spoke to the media after Thursday’s practice.
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Joyner vs. Renfrow & Antonio Brown
Joyner has been making news in the early stages of camp because he’s been battling rookie wide receiver Hunter Renfrow. While the two are starting to develop a rivalry, Joyner was quick to praise the rookie.
“He’s here because he’s a great route runner, he’s smart, he’s intelligent and he’s gonna get me ready for Sunday,” said Joyner on practicing against Renfrow. “He’s a very prestigious route runner.”
Renfrow doesn’t boast the same athletic traits as some of his other teammates, but he’s already impressing with his skill as a route runner. He’s an unassuming guy, but he could easily find his way into that third receiver spot behind Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams. He hasn’t done anything yet to show that he’s not worthy. Joyner also talked about what Brown brings to the team.
“Antonio Brown is one of those guys, it’s like Sunday, every rep against him and Renfrow is like Sunday and you know that if he’s out there, the ball’s coming to [Brown],” said Joyner.” If you don’t compete with Antonio Brown, he’s gonna embarrass you and he’s going to rub it in your face. I didn’t feel like having a down practice that day because I didn’t want to see him dancing with the stars.
Brown is definitely not the type of player you want to get embarrassed by, but it’s kind of hard not to because he’s so hard to guard. This competition bodes well for both the offense and the defense because the team shares a division with deadly weapons like Tyreek Hill and Keenan Allen. Iron sharpens iron.
LaMarcus Joyner Praises Gareon Conley
One player the Raiders have huge expectations for in 2019 is former first-round pick Gareon Conley. Conley is healthy for the first time in his career, so he’s finally getting a chance to prepare himself for the season. When LaMarcus Joyner was asked about the third-year corner, he didn’t hesitate to talk up his new teammate.
“Hands down, he might be the most talented DB we have,” said Joyner about Conley. “If you add that work ethic and that spirit that he has, the positivity that he’s coming to work with every day – we got something special on the outside so we just have to keep him going.”
Conley had a disappointing start to his career, mainly due to injuries. However, he came on very strong towards the end of the 2018 season. What’s often forgotten is that Conley hasn’t been able to participate much in any training camp up to this point. This is the time of year when skills are refined and now that he’s getting the necessary practice, he could blossom into a shutdown corner. Joyner is excited about the potential that the defensive backfield has heading into 2019.
“We’re gonna be a special DB unit this year.”