Seen and Heard: Raiders Offense Gets True Progress Report Against Rams

NAPA – The Raiders offense didn't start or end Wednesday's practice well.

Quarterback Derek Carr's first pass of these joint practices with the Los Angeles Rams went deep for Tyrell Williams. It got picked.

His last followed a similar arc, a beautiful downfield ball that hit Williams right in the hands and fell to the turf.

Carr acknowledged both miscues with a shrug. He was trying to set a positive tone with the first throw, and capitalize on a good pump fake and Williams' separation on the last.

Neither effort worked out, but the Raiders didn't sweat over missed opportunities from their work against the NFC champions. They chose to learn from them. 

"You always want to be crisp. You always want to be clean," Carr said Wednesday. "But we threw five or six touchdowns and made some nice plays. [Mistakes] like we had today are not alarming, but there will be things we need to work out."

The Raiders were playing with far less than a full deck. Wide receiver Antonio Brown missed yet another practice with foot issues. Tight end Darren Waller suited up but was limited for a third straight day as he continues to recover from a shoulder sprain.

That prevents the offense from getting a true feel for their progress, but there were positives and information points to glean from the first of two joint practices against the Rams.

The Raiders offense had some bright moments during these sessions, going against the Rams defense on one field while the reverse matchup occurred on another. 

Carr showed his command of the offense in 11-on-11 drills. On the day, Carr unofficially was 11-for-19 with two or three touchdowns.

Running back Josh Jacobs is beginning to assert himself in the offense, and is comfortable running hard through contact.

The Raiders are learning more about themselves in training camp, and going against the Rams will offer a progress report on what's working and what needs to get fixed.

"Going up against a different scheme is so valuable," Carr said. "Now you can go to the film and teach off it, coach off of it. We didn't game plan for these practices, so we really don't know what to expect. It's fun to get different looks from different players and what guys compete. It's really good work. I'd rather do this than a preseason game any day."

More offensive action

-- In red-zone work, Carr appeared to connect with Williams in the back of the end zone, threading the needle in between two defenders. It looked like William's right foot came down out of bounds, but there's no review in the joint session.

A few plays later, Carr hit Jalen Richard on an option route out of the backfield and the running back took it to the house.

-- In full-field 11-on-11, Carr and the offense struggled a touch. The quarterback hit rookie Hunter Renfrow on a wide receiver screen for a big gain, drawing cheers from the fans. He also hit J.J. Nelson on a slant that would have gone the distance had it not been blown dead after brief contact.

Carr also missed a wide-open Nelson on an out route, something the quarterback called "the easiest throw of his career."

Beast Mode back at camp

Oakland native and former Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch was at Wednesday's joint practice in Napa, likely there more for his cousin, Rams star cornerback Marcus Peters, than the team that didn't bring him back for 2019.

Lynch was able to talk with rookie running back Josh Jacobs for a bit, and likely will show up on the next "Hard Knocks" episode.

[RELATED: AB reportedly has 'extreme frostbite;' no timetable for return]

Raiders defensive action

It's fair to say Rams quarterback Jared Goff had his way with the Raiders defense. He regularly completed passes and had time to throw while working with the first unit.

The Raiders had a few blown coverages, and Goff threaded the needle a few times on downfield completions when receivers were blanketed.

While the Rams offense might have won Wednesday's session the Raiders defense made some plays:

-- Tahir Whitehead was flying to the football on Wednesday, and the linebacker attacked ball carriers from sideline to sideline. He also worked with the first-team nickel defense alongside Vontaze Burfict for the first time, a spot Brandon Marshall has manned during camp.

-- Maurice Hurst was inserted into the first-team base defensive line over Justin Ellis, and it was a new turn for the second-year player. Hurst had worked with the first-team sub-package line all camp. Hurst is capable of being an every-down player if that's required.

-- Cornerback Gareon Conley made his best play of camp Wednesday, with a leaping pass defensed while blanketing Rams tight end Tyler Higbee.

-- Arden Key continues to flash as a pass rusher and shows improved run defending, though he largely has been working against second-unit offensive lineman. Regardless, he looks like a better, more confident player in this camp. 

-- Wide receiver Ryan Grant and Defensive tackle P.J. Hall left Wednesday's practice with undisclosed injuries. 

NBC Sports Bay Area reporter Josh Schrock contributed to this report. 

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