The Las Vegas Raiders traveled west to take on the Rams in a team scrimmage in Thousands Oaks, California. This is the first scrimmage of two.
Coaches love joint practices as it allows them to understand how their team performs in controlled environments, whether it’s the two-minute drill, short distance situations, or the redzone offense. Coaches prefer joint practices, sometimes even over preseason action.
The Raiders and Rams will meet for a third time on Saturday, for week two of the preseason. Both teams are expecting their starters to play in this game.
Start of Practice
It was a cloudy day in Thousand Oaks with a little bit of rain Wednesday morning, as both the Raiders and Rams warmed up and stretched on separate fields. After both teams got done stretching, they stayed on separate fields and ran drills splitting into positional groups.
After running team drills individually, the two teams got together to run competitive drills. The Raiders and Rams linemen got together to run some linemen drills. During these drills, Kolton Miller showed his dominance early. As he went up against the Rams outside linebackers, he held his own.
According to a source observing team drills, “Kolton Miller was really dominant, in the 3-4 reps I saw, he held his own and didn’t lose at all.”
Miller has had a strong camp and has grown into a really good football player for the Silver and Black.
Richie Incognito, Andre James, and Denzelle Good went up against Aaron Donald and the Ram’s interior defensive line. Donald was pretty much unblockable, but Incognito did beat him once.
During that same time, the quarterbacks, skills players, linebackers, and defensive backs got together to run 7 on 7’s. During the 7 on 7 periods, Darren Waller was on fire. He ran a corner route on one play, and Carr hit him in stride for a touchdown.
The Rams offense was also really explosive during this period. Cooper Kupp, Tyler Higbee, and Van Jefferson all caught touchdowns. 7 on 7’s are much tougher for the defense than the offense because the quarterback isn’t being rushed but rather gets to stand back freely to deliver the pass.
Raiders offense gets upper hand during 11 on 11’s
The Raiders’ offense and Rams defense headed to one field, while the defense and Rams offense went to the other field. Overall, the Raider’s offense scored at will and had a great day, especially Hunter Renfrow.
After Jalen Ramsey hit Josh Jacobs, which caused his helmet to fly off, it seemed like the Raiders got fired up. After that play, the Raiders dialed up a deep shot on Jalen Ramsey. Hunter Renfrow, who was lined up in the slot, ran a Slick Route (fake out and up), burned Ramsey, and Derek Carr put it in the perfect spot for a touchdown.
A few players later, Renfrow caught another pass over Jalen Ramsey. “If I can beat Jalen Ramsey, I can beat anybody,” said Hunter Renfrow.
Henry Ruggs also continued the explosiveness he flashed over the past few weeks. He caught two deep passes during 11 on 11’s, including a 50-yard deep pass by Derek Carr that went for a touchdown.
Derek Carr admitted he had the offensive line slide away from Alex Leatherwood to see how the rookie would handle himself against Aaron Donald. “There was a play where [Donald] lined up on Alex. I slid the whole line to the left just to let Alex have the one on one… We’ll see how he did on tape. I think he did pretty good.”
Raiders defense steps up in 11 on 11’s
During team 11 on 11’s, on the opposite field, the Raiders defense was firing, playing nickel package most of the time against a Rams offense that heavily favors the passing game. During this period, Matthew Stafford threw three interceptions, which is very encouraging from a team with just 10 interceptions in 2020.
The first was a bad throw by Stafford for Robert Woods that fell into the laps of rookie safety Tre’von Moehrig. The second throw came on a corner route to the right, which Stafford put a little too much on. Rasul Douglas was able to intercept the pass. And finally, the last interception came by the former Rams linebacker Cory Littleton over the middle of the field.
Yannick Ngakoue beat the Rams left tackle a few times, including on the Cory Littleton interception.
Johnathan Abram also got into the mix. On one play, Stafford threw the ball deep to wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Abram was in the area and was able to turn around just in time to force the pass incomplete. A few plays later, Robert Woods ran a route across the middle, and Abram delivered a huge shot on Woods, which popped the ball incomplete.
The Raiders defense forced Stafford into throwing a ton of short throws. Gus Bradley’s defense is known not to give up a ton of big plays. Coach Bradley prefers to play a prevent style of defense to limit big plays, and this was one of the reasons Stafford ended up throwing three interceptions.
Damon Arnette and Rasul Douglas also looked good practicing with the second-team defense. Both players had plays in which they broke on the ball and almost intercepted the pass.
Although the Raiders won against the Ram’s first-string offense, Casey Hayward Jr. got beat deep by Cooper Kupp during 11 on 11’s.
The energy at practice today was great. Everyone could feel it. At times, the practice did get chippy, so it’ll be interesting to watch tomorrow’s practice between the two clubs.
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