Raiders’ ‘Hard Knocks’ Premiere: Five Interesting Things From Episode 1
The first "Hard Knocks" episode chronicling this Raiders training camp premiered Tuesday night on HBO, and while it wasn't exactly filled with drama, we learned a few things about the team in this behind-the-scenes documentary series.
Here are five things we found out from the show:
(A bit about) Antonio Brown's feet
Just like Raiders brass, the "Hard Knocks" crew knew about Antonio Brown's foot issues before camp. Workout sessions with a private trainer three days before camp began showed Brown trying to work around the issue, doing what he could despite obvious limitations.
It was also clear missing time bothered Brown, who hasn't spoken publicly since training camp began.
"I have a lot of people around me who depend on me to perform," Brown said on the show, in a pre-camp interview. "That's my livelihood, being on my feet and being able to cut. They don't want to hear any excuse. I'm new to the team, just like everyone else fighting to make the team. I'll take a couple days to get right, but I'm excited to show Raider Nation what I'm about."
Brown's foot issues have taken longer than a few days to rectify. He practiced only once, on July 30, and hasn't seen the field with his team since. He saw a foot specialist on Saturday and has been away from camp recently, explaining why the show didn't follow up on many further details regarding Brown's feet after his practice day
Raiders trainer H. Rod Martin said in a team meeting that Brown "can't make sharp cuts yet, and he doesn't know how to throttle back."
Head coach Jon Gruden didn't have any updates on Brown's feet after Tuesday's practice. The timing of the show also couldn't address reports of how Brown's feet were injured – it came out Tuesday and could be dealt with on next week's episode that he reportedly hurt them in a cryotherapy machine. Brown posted Instagram Stories photos of his feet peeling in large chunks, but they weren't shown either.
One thing is clear: Raiders miss Brown in practice, with Gruden saying "he elevates everybody."
Gruden's golden rules
Gruden addressed the full squad on July 26, with cameras documenting his message to the team. He laid out four simple rules for quality camp life and to stay on his good side.
They are as follows:
1. Don't be late
2. Don't be overweight
3. Bust your a--
4. Use common sense
"And that about sums it up," Gruden said.
Ollie's quick exit
Ronald Ollie didn't last long in Raiders camp or on "Hard Knocks." The former star of the Netflix docu-series "Last Chance U" didn't make it past the first episode. The undrafted defensive lineman couldn't practice after complaining of pain in his left Achilles' tendon and then didn't show up for treatment the next morning.
That's a no-no, and a violation of Gruden's first, third and fourth rule. That got Ollie cut. Showing the league's harsh turnover rate, newcomer Ethan Westbrooks was given Ollie's locker and his jersey number as the Raiders moved on quickly.
Abram has to dial it back
The Raiders love Johnathan Abram's enthusiasm and clear love for the game. They didn't like his aggressiveness in non-padded practices, with several offensive veterans telling him to cool it while competing in shells. He tagged Dwayne Harris pretty good and drew some ire from Luke Willson.
Gruden eventually pulled Abram aside and asked the first-round draft pick to dial it back a bit. Abram resisted at first, but eventually acquiesced.
"I love the aggression. That's why we brought you here," Gruden said. "Just don't do that to your own people."
Derek Carr uses sunscreen, thank you very much
The Raiders' tight ends were giving quarterback Derek Carr some grief for his biceps looking shiny in practice. Foster Moreau asked if he used baby oil to get show definition on his arms.
"I swear, it's sunscreen," Carr said. "I'm a dad now. I would put that white stuff (zinc oxide) on my nose if I could."