Despite team facilities not being open for players to practice, many members of the Las Vegas Raiders have been hard at work in the desert sun. As weeks go by, more and more players show up. Star tight end Darren Waller has been among the players at practice and he gave some insight.
“There has been some good competition this last month, with everybody pushing each other,” Waller told Vic Tafur of The Athletic. “It’s been real productive.”
Derek Carr has been at the practices from the beginning and Waller believes he’s getting some good reps in.
“Knowing where you end up in certain routes,” Waller said. “The quarterback gets a feel for how you do things against certain looks, and that only comes from repetition, trying new things and challenging yourself. This time is especially important for the young guys who don’t have the normal OTA periods.
“This is the foundational period for what type of season you want to have.”
The fact that the Raiders have been able to get so many players to practice in a new city during a pandemic is a testament to how committed they are to winning games in 2020.
Waller & Richie Incognito Talk Las Vegas Heat
It’s a good sign the Raiders have so many players practicing, but it’s also extremely hot in Las Vegas, Nevada this time of year. Temperatures can get over 110 degrees.
“The heat is an adjustment,” said starting left guard Richie Incognito, per Tafur. “The first day I went out there, I said this isn’t too bad … and then that night I was hurting. But it’s just about getting the body acclimated.”
While it’s no easy to task to play in that kind of heat, Waller thinks it will help the team.
“We can deal with extreme temperatures, we go right at it and we work, no excuses,” Waller said. “I feel like that can pay dividends for us in the season, knowing that we can go into any kind of environment, hot or cold, and do our thing.”
The Raiders’ headquarters in Henderson hasn’t been completed yet and players wouldn’t be able to practice there right now anyway. That has led to the team taking over a public part for about 90 minutes a day for practices.
“It’s a public park,” Waller said. “But they have been respecting us and we appreciate them letting us do our work before they bum-rush us. They’re excited. That’s a good thing. People are foaming at the mouth to have a winner, to have an exciting team and we’re definitely bringing that to the table.”
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Waller Excited to Work With Jason Witten
One of the more interesting moves the Raiders made this offseason was the signing of former Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten. The team was already pretty set at the position and Witten isn’t a young man anymore. Regardless, Waller is excited about the group of tight ends the Raiders have.
“It was awesome to have Jason out there, and Foster has been having a pretty remarkable recovery, just being six months out or so,” Waller said. “It’s really exciting to have them both out there and adding their unique energy.
“That goes for everybody. The defense is working on their calls and converses. Everybody is doing a good job of learning to be coaches on the field.”
There’s only so much the Raiders can do to prepare for the season without having access to their facilities but this is a big step for the team heading into training camp.