The Las Vegas Raiders' voluntary OTAs are soon coming to a close.
The Silver and Black were able to get a major turnout for OTAs and get the best out of their veterans as well as their rookies. With mandatory minicamp around the corner, the Raiders have started to piece things together for what could be a dynamic 2021 season. The team obtained some nice additions in free agency to bolster both sides of the ball.
Solomon Thomas, John Brown, Kenyan Drake and Casey Hayward Jr. took time to address the media Wednesday afternoon after OTAs.
Solomon Thomas on bringing leadership and a winning mentality to a young team:
"I just want to bring what I've learned in my career and what I've learned in my time over in San Francisco over here. Especially the year that we went to the Super Bowl. Just trying to bring some leadership with that, teaching the guys about unity and how important it is to be together. Communication is on point, just small details we're on top of like running to the ball; everybody knowing the call; knowing their assignment; having each other's back. That's a reason why we were able to go so far in the playoffs. Just trying to bring that and what I've learned in my career over here because I'm Year 5 now. I'm a vet, trying to step up as a leader and be someone that can help guys out over here."
Thomas on getting back on the field after overcoming injuries:
"I love this. This is the love of my life; this is the game I love. Last year I had to spend the whole season on a one-bedroom couch. I had fun watching it, but I missed the game, I missed my teammates. It sucked not being on the field. Now just to be able to come to practice, being in the locker room, that gives me energy. That gives me happiness, joy, spirit, everything. It's everything I miss, and everything I wanted.
John Brown's first impressions of his new quarterback Derek Carr:
"The thing that stood out to me, first and foremost is, he's a man of God. And that's one thing I definitely respect about him, and that's what I love. But his work ethic and the things he continues to do for this offense, he's just a great person all-around, and he's a veteran quarterback. So, I had a few veteran quarterbacks in my time, and I know how to work with those guys, and it's going to be fun."
Brown on what he can bring to the receiver unit:
"I can bring a veteran standpoint, be able to help out. And with the receiver room, we have a bunch of young guys, and I feel like I can help out in the role and teach the guys how to become a veteran because we have a great group, and these guys, they play well. And I think they'll do even better this year."
Kenyan Drake on learning to the Raiders offense:
"I'm fully engulfed in it, man. I'm living it, breathing it right now. Just trying to make sure I get all the basics down, especially right now. When everything starts to really open up, we have a good base, and then you can kind of move on from there add on top of that and continue to work toward our goal, that's obviously being a top offense in this league. So, I feel like I can definitely help in that facet."
Drake regarding his pass-catching abilities as a running back:
"Just trying to create mismatches. When you have a back as myself, or really any of our backs, you line up out wide and you have a linebacker or safety that goes out there, it gives you obviously a cover indicator, and with that we just want to take advantage of the mismatches that we feel like we have in the backfield on defenders when they match up man-to-man with us. Obviously with anybody else on our offense, man-to-man, we feel like we should be able to win a good clip of that."
Casey Hayward Jr.'s evaluation of safety Johnathan Abram:
"I think he's a good player, has the potential to be a really great player, especially in this defense. I've seen some really good safeties in this defense that made a lot of plays, some All-Pro plays. I feel like he can do the same thing. ... Going into his third year, I think he's going to peak. I see the leadership role he's taken on, and that's what we need. We need some leaders in this secondary and on this defense and the team as well. Like I said, it's my first year, so I see a lot of good similarities to some good defensive players that I've seen in the past. I think he's doing a great job so far."
Hayward Jr. on playing in familiar defensive scheme:
"I think things have been pretty good. Like I said, a lot of similarities for me with the defensive staff. I've been with [defensive backs coach Ron Milus] "Milo" going on six years now. That's been my same defensive back coach, been with [defensive coordinator] Gus [Bradley] for the last five years as well. It's a lot of similarities. The players have brought me in and treated me like family from the start."