NAPA – Derek Carr saw Tyrell Williams running out of room in the end zone Saturday during Raiders practice, inching ever closer to the left sideline. Williams was covered but the quarterback threw it anyway, choosing to let his receiver make a play. Williams found a sliver's separation, caught the expertly thrown pass and tapped both feet in bounds.
While Saturday's crowd went nuts, Carr made a mental note.
That Williams guy can make some tough catches. And keep his feet in bounds.
If a receiver gets enough Carr points, trust level goes up and they get golden opportunities in regular-season games.
"That's what goes on in my head," Carr said after practice. "I think, ‘He has a cornerback, 1-on-1, let's find out how he handles it.' This is the time to find out, and Tyrell has consistently done things like that. I think everyone that's been at practice is seeing Tyrell not just as a No. 2 receiver. He can easily take the featured role and be a 100-catch, 1,000-yard guy."
Carr showed trust in several receivers, throwing aggressive darts to Williams, Keelan Doss and Marcell Ateman on consecutive reps in a red-zone drill. The receivers made a big play, respectively, each time. Every one was good for six points.
Williams, however, has been this camp's star receiver every day with Antonio Brown out.
Carr likened his developing trust in Williams to that he established with Andre Holmes, and he regulary would throw it up and let the big-bodied receiver go make a play in tight games.
"What you will see is, the more times he's making that play in games, 1-on-1, down the field, the more you are going to see me just let it rip," Carr said. "Hopefully not as Favre-ish, maybe not with three guys on him, but more calculated I guess. Tyrell is a guy that you definitely flick a switch when you see a certain look and you saw it happen in practice, ‘Oh yeah, here you go buddy. Here's your chance.'"
Carr gives shots to those who earn them, not those who burn him.
"I tell my receivers every day, 'I'm always going to give you a chance until you prove me wrong,'" Carr said. "And then, once you prove me wrong, it just won't happen again because that football is just way too valuable to give to the other team."
Kid gets his ball back
Ateman's red-zone touchdown reception came in the back of the south end zone, near a tent full of Raiders season-ticket holders. Ateman ended up celebrating his score next to the partition between players and fans, and handed the football to a little boy in the front row.
The crowd cheered. A Raiders equipment assistant came over and retrieved the football, exactly as he's supposed to, and got booed for it. An official came back and returned the ball to the boy a few plays later, doing right by the fan and his family.
The "Hard Knocks" crew flew a drone low over Raiders practice, as they're allowed to do while filming the documentary show that will aur on HBO. Rocks surely would've been thrown at it had any other entity been spying on practice.
More celebrities at Raiders camp
Pop/rock singer Alexander DeLeon, lead signer of The Cab and a popular solo act often under the name Bohnes, was in Raiders camp Saturday with his family and fiancée Josephine Skriver, a Victoria's Secret supermodel. DeLeon and Skriver frequently travel to Raiders road games and are among the team's most prominent die-hard fans. "Hard Knocks" followed them around after practice, while they met with several of their friends on the team.
Let's have some 1-on-1s!
Coach Jon Gruden went away from his practice script midway through Saturday's practice without pads, saying, "Hey Pauly [Guenther], let's have some 1-on-1s!" He paired weakside linebackers up against running backs in a passing drill, which the rushers controlled easily.
Josh Jacobs got by Tahir Whitehead in the flat, while DeAndre Washington badly juked Brandon Marshall for an easy catch-and-run. Doug Martin got a step on Nick Morrow, but the intended pass was overthrown a smidge.
More on-field action
-- A.J. Cole had quite a day in the punting battle, with several attempts with long hang times that flew high and deep. It was his second straight quality showing as he tried to take the punting job from Johnny Townsend.
-- Carr was locked in all practice, throwing darts all over the field in what might've been his best session yet. He was decisive and aggressive, yet always put his receivers in position to make plays.
-- Tight end Darren Waller missed practice with a reported shoulder sprain. The Raiders were down to three healthy tight ends, with Paul Butler also missing time. Defensive linemen Gabe Wright, Quinton Bell and Eddie Vanderdoes were also out on Saturday.
-- The Raiders signed running back Mack Brown and waived guard Lukayus McNeil.