It is always fun to look at Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and get a prelude of things to come for the upcoming NFL season because it allows fans to get an early look at their team and satisfy their craving for football.
It is also easy to forget that players have not even put on pads yet, and people want to speculate winners and losers of these practices, which is premature.
The real time to take a look at the progress of a team is during training camp and the preseason. The Oakland Raiders and Raider fans have a lot to look forward to once training camp opens in late July.
One thing new general manager Reggie McKenzie should have learned during his time in Green Bay is how to develop young quarterbacks.
Terrelle Pryor is an interesting prospect who understands the pressure he is facing, and as Bill Williamson of ESPN.com writes, he is going to continue to work and work hard.
I’m going to go about my business getting better and working hard and no one [will] out-work me. That’s how I live and that’s how I do things every day, and it won’t change,” Pryor said. “I learned a lot from Carson but I’m not going to worry about what he’s doing. I’m not going to worry about what Matt’s doing because I have to be on my ‘A’ game every day.
Pryor comes into camp battling with Matt Leinart for the No. 2 spot behind starting quarterback Carson Palmer.
He has raw ability but lost a lot of developmental time last year because of his trouble at Ohio St. and a suspension imposed by the league.
Pryor is going to get his opportunity to show the Raiders what he can do and if he has a future with the team. Expect a bunch of reps in camp and in some extended preseason action.
Marcel Reece is the most interesting player in the league that no one outside of Oakland knows about. Expect that to change this season.
Reece is an intriguing weapon for the Raiders. He is the only fullback in the league that can line up as a receiver and run a seam route. His speed and pass-catching ability make him a threat.
Also factor in that with running back Michael Bush gone, Reece may have an expanded role in the backfield. Do not be surprised if he gets some handoffs with newly-signed fullback Owen Schmitt leading the way.
One thing is for sure, Reece will be fun to watch once training camp opens up.
Louis Murphy has a chip on his shoulder coming into 2012 as well he should.
The leader in receptions at the wide receiver position for the Raiders in 2009 and 2010 is quickly becoming the forgotten man in a suddenly crowded receiving corps.
A hamstring injury slowed Murphy down in 2011, which never allowed him to get into rhythm with quarterback Carson Palmer. Now he is being written off before training camp even hits.
The competition at the receiver spot will be the most interesting and fun to watch once camp opens. Oakland has a lot of talented receivers, but let's see what Murphy has left to offer before we close his Raider career.
The defensive unit fans should take particular note of going into training camp is the linebackers.
With head coach Dennis Allen employing a hybrid, blitzing scheme, versatility will be important.
The competition should be pretty wide open because of several questions surrounding this unit. Will Rolando McClain make marked improvement and be able to cover the pass? Can Aaron Curry continue to improve from last season? Is Philip Wheeler an adequate pass rusher to replace Kamerion Wimbley?
Throw in fourth-round pick Miles Burris and Travis Goethel, if he can stay healthy, and the Raiders will have some decisions to make on who fits best in different formations and situations.
Once training camp gets here, some of these questions will be answered, but hopefully, many will be played out. A true critique of the roster and scheme will be made then, giving Raider fans truly something to look forward to.
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