The Oakland Raiders, led by fourth-year quarterback Derek Carr, who signed a five-year contract extension through 2022 in June, return to work this week as they start training camp in Napa.
Veteran players are to report to the Napa Valley Marriott on Friday. The first practice of camp, which takes place at Redwood Middle School, is from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The organization reported Monday on its website, raiders.com, that a select group of players, including rookies and quarterbacks, are here for pre-camp training that lasts for four days.
This is the team’s 22nd consecutive summer in the Napa Valley. The complex has 2½ practice fields and a field house, and sits on a five-acre site, adjacent to the Marriott, where the team is headquartered during its four-week stay here.
The Napa Valley Unified School District’s current agreement with the Raiders runs until June 30, 2019, “and at this point, we have no indication that will change,” Elizabeth Emmett, director of Communications and Community Engagement for the NVUSD, said in March.
In late March, the Raiders received approval from NFL owners to relocate the franchise to Las Vegas. The team reportedly will remain in Oakland for at least the next two seasons.
The Raiders ended a 13-year playoff drought by making the postseason as a wild-card team after a 12-5 record last year. Carr had a lot to do with the team’s success, as he was selected to his second consecutive Pro Bowl after compiling a 96.7 passer rating in 15 games, while throwing for 3,937 yards with 28 touchdowns and just six interceptions.
He was second in the NFL last year with seven fourth-quarter comebacks and set the NFL record with five game-winning touchdown passes in either the fourth quarter or overtime.
“We’re very excited to have Derek be a part of this organization officially for many more years,” General Manager Reggie McKenzie said during a press conference announcing the signing. “We’re looking for great things, as always, in our quest to achieve a championship trophy. We know that Derek is a big part of what we are trying to do around here.”
Carr received AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors after throwing for 513 yards, a single-game franchise record, in the Raiders’ Week 8 overtime win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Carr, a second-round pick of the Raiders in the 2014 NFL Draft out of Fresno State, received the franchise’s Commitment to Excellence Award in 2016. It’s given to the player who best exemplifies hard work, leadership and excellence throughout the season.
“To me, my number one goal is to make sure that I give everything that I have to this organization,” said Carr. “I don’t care about the stats. That’s not my number one objective. I don’t care if I throw 10 touchdowns next year. If we win every game, that’s all I care about.”
Carr broke his leg in the second-to-last game of the regular season last year. Oakland went on to lose its season finale and then lost its playoff opener at Houston.
“We definitely want to take another step,” said Carr. “That’s hugely important to us. We’ve done some really, really good things. But obviously, we’ve lost our last game and that’s the thing. How can we be more efficient? How can we be more effective at the right time, at the right moment, however it looks?
“Our goal is to make sure that we don’t take any steps backwards. That is not talking statistically or anything like that. Those things come. It’s just the efficiency of how we run our routes, the efficiency of my footwork, the efficiency of how we pick up the blitzes, all of those things. And if we’re getting better in those areas, those other things will fall into place.”
Carr has already earned two Pro Bowl selections. He has thrown for 11,194 yards with 81 touchdowns and 31 interceptions in his career.
He has two outstanding receivers to throw the ball to in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.
The Raiders have added several key players to their roster: Marshawn Lynch (running back), Jared Cook (tight end), Cordarrelle Patterson (wide receiver), Marshall Newhouse (offensive line), Jelani Jenkins (linebacker).
Defensive end Khalil Mack leads the defense for Oakland. Mack was named as the NFL’s 2016 Defensive Player of the Year after registering 73 tackles, 11 sacks, forcing five fumbles, recovering three fumbles and intercepting a pass.
The Raiders continue with practices on Sunday, July 30. The players have Aug. 2 off. The team opens the preseason on Aug. 12 at Arizona. The Raiders break camp after a practice on Aug. 17 and then face the Los Angeles Rams at the Oakland Coliseum on Aug. 19.
Head coach Jack Del Rio was asked if he prefers a certain message when it comes to expectations of the team.
“What I expect is us to put everything we have out there every time we come on the field. It’s more about the process of putting together good practices. Developing your skill. Working on things like being unselfish. I think you have to train yourself mentally to work at that. Building that mindset, we’re going to be a resilient team. We’re going to fight for 60 minutes. We’re going to scratch and claw and find a way as a team to come out with victories, and we’re going to enjoy it while we do it. We’re going to enjoy the process, coming in here every day and putting in the work.”
Carr has made excellent strides over the years and is one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. He has completed 60.9 percent of his passes. He became the starter out of training camp in his rookie year of 2014.
“We want to develop our guys to the fullest,” said Del Rio. “I think that’s what you push for. Continue to hone your craft, sharpen your skills, build that rapport with your teammates, with him getting on the same page with all the receivers and the tight ends and the backs, the timing of the routes and a real deep understanding of what we’re trying to get done. We’ve talked a lot about Derek being able to take ownership at the line and direct things and you have to work to do that. You have to put in the time, really understand the offense inside and out and that’s what Derek brings for us.”