The Oakland Raiders are off Monday after training camp practice went through the weekend, and new head coach Jack Del Rio is pleased with his team's progress thus far.
"We've had a great first week or so of camp," Del Rio said in a post-practice interview with Bay Area reporters on Sunday. "I think we grew as a football team this week."
Del Rio noted the team's day off was league-mandated but that the players' effort would've earned them a rest day regardless.
Oakland's wide receivers, including those not named Michael Crabtree or Amari Cooper, have continued to impress Del Rio in training camp.
"I think we've had some really good moments ... some outstanding catches and separation and attention to detail," Del Rio said in the interview. "We feel like we have some options there, some guys that maybe we'll develop beyond what they've been in the past, so we'll see where that goes."
This video from the team's Vine account of Brice Butler bringing down a one-handed grab from last week's practice exemplifies the "moments" Del Rio is talking about:
Fourth-year receiver Rod Streater still hasn't practiced after being placed on the non-football illness list at the beginning of training camp. CSN Bay Area Insider Scott Bair wrote that Streater is likely to become the Raiders' No. 3 receiver behind Cooper and Crabtree when the regular season starts.
Rookie tight end Clive Walford has also been held out of training camp so far with a hamstring injury but is close to returning to practice, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan:
Walford impressed the Raiders during offseason workouts with good hands and athleticism, especially for a man 6'4" and 258 pounds. It's important for Walford to get plenty of reps in preseason games to make up for his lost time in training camp.
Both players will be key to Oakland's retooled offense having success in 2015. In three seasons with the Raiders, Streater has 1,556 receiving yards and eight touchdowns while averaging 14.4 yards per reception. He is an underrated weapon for the Raiders when healthy.
Walford, meanwhile, was brought in to shore up the Raiders' tight end position, which has been anything but consistent in recent years. Third-year incumbent Mychal Rivera has decent hands but is not a good blocker and doesn't pose much of a vertical threat to opposing defenses.
Speaking of defense, cornerback D.J. Hayden is entering his third season as a pro with an aggressive mindset. Hayden recently told Vic Tafur of the SF Gate that he's not going to think about making mistakes when playing the ball in 2015.
"Whether I make a mistake or not, I am going to do it full speed," Hayden said in the article. "Last year, I was hesitant about making mistakes. This year, I don't give a damn."
Hayden's attitude is encouraging, but his play must back up his words. Cornerback is Oakland's thinnest position as well as one of its youngest. Hayden, T.J. Carrie and Keith McGill—the team's projected starters—are all less than 27 years old. Hayden was drafted in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft to emerge as a shut-down corner, and if he doesn't, the Raiders' secondary will suffer for it in 2015.
Follow Ethan on Twitter @ebai_today for updates and analysis on the Raiders and the NFL.