ALAMEDA -– Jack Del Rio practices are intense. There’s a quick tempo, ultra-competitive team periods and a whole lot of noise.
Music blares from the opening stretch through the final huddle, fast-paced rock and rap designed to set tone on the field. That’ll be a Del Rio staple, something new to most players.
Most everything is new these days, with a new coaching staff, new schemes and several new players. There’s an adjustment period going on, especially through the team’s first on-field work of the offseason.
There’s a new vibe, and Justin Tuck described it best.
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“It’s very intense,” defensive end Justin Tuck said. “That’s fine. We need some intensity around here.”
Del Rio will be happy with Tuck’s takeaway. Intensity, focus and competition are what he expects each practice. A three-day voluntary minicamp was his first on-field effort with his new team, a welcome change after a month trapped in meeting rooms.
“It’s a lot different drawing Xs, Zs and Ys on a piece of paper than being on the field, executing with real bodies,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “We have a long way to go, but it was important to get out here. I saw a lot of progress through three days. I like where we’re at, and where we’re headed.”
Del Rio’s staff is demanding, even at this early stage, in an attempt to create a tougher team with great accountability.
“Everything we touch, we want to be better,” Del Rio said. “Every area that we have a chance to improve, we want to improve it. Anything that we see that doesn’t look like it fits, we want to make sure that we adjust and get it right. We’re attacking everything.”
The Raiders had perfect attendance for their three-day voluntary minicamp, something Del Rio took pride in.
"That shows a significant commitment by the guys," Del Rio said. "I respect that and appreciate that. This is a voluntary time of year and they are volunteering to be good, they are volunteering to commit to the work that needs to be done. I respect that and appreciate it.”
Here are some other notes from voluntary minicamp:
-- Offensive tackle Matt McCants was working at guard for the first time as a Raider. He and Khalif Barnes spent significant time at right guard on Thursday, a position without a favorite to start, though a drafted player is expected to compete for the top slot.
--Nate Allen mostly played free safety on Wednesday, but said he and Charles Woodson are “interchangeable” and that roles –- free safety and strong safety -- haven’t been defined at this stage.
-- Several Raiders didn’t practice on Wednesday, though Del Rio didn’t delve into injury specifics. Sio Moore (hip) sat out of this practice, and is expected to miss the entire offseason program. Receiver Brice Butler was out with a shoulder injury. Linebacker Miles Burris, defensive tackle Dan Williams, tight end Nick Kasa and running back Taiwan Jones also missed work.
-- Del Rio like the Raiders’ schedule, which was formally announced on Tuesday. It features two home games to start the season, a Thursday night home game against San Diego and four AFC West contests in the last five weeks.
“I think it’s a great schedule the way it lays out,” he said. “It’s definitely challenging but, if you’re a Raider fan, you’ve got to be pleased with the schedule.”