NAPA – Antonio Brown has missed 10 of 11 Raiders training camp practices now, with no formal timetable to return.
His absence likely won't be a huge deal once his foot issues heal and he starts producing in the regular season, but frustration levels are rising slightly after he wasn't around for this week's joint practices against the L.A. Rams.
He has been away from the team seeing specialists recently, therefore missing meetings in addition to practices.
Brown's an incredibly hard worker, a detail-oriented route runner and someone who has already built chemistry with quarterback Derek Carr, which should ease his transition back to full activity. Raiders legend Charles Woodson understood those points, but also explained how Brown missing all these sessions can hinder offensive progress.
"When he is slotted to do all these different things for you and he's not here to learn the offense," Woodson said Thursday. "You have to learn the offense and the verbiage, and when to convert a route into something else and different looks you're going to get and timing with Derek.
"That's important, because he's going to be a huge part of this offense. Right now, you have to plug people into the position he's going to be in, so it doesn't quite look the way it will when he's out there. At some point, it would be great to have him out here and help this team get to the next level."
Woodson watched practice in person Thursday, and came away with positive impressions.
"I see a lot more team speed, especially on the offensive side of the ball and in the receiver corps," Woodson said. "It'd be great to have No. 84 out here, so he can bring that element to the game. You see some guys who love the game and want to come out here and give everything they've got. That's what it's all about."
Woodson also believes Carr's in for a big season, and explains why: "I don't think there's any question, man. He has had a year under his belt with Gruden. He knows how Gruden is, what Gruden expects and how hard Gruden coaches. He has taken all the criticism. He has gotten a lot of that over the years and he has had injuries. He's a weathered guy already in his career. That either makes you better, or you get worse. You can't stay the same. What I think he has gone through will help him get better."
"And he has weapons around him. That [stuff] doesn't hurt. I think he's going to be fine."