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Raider Camp opens up this Friday with Maxx Crosby looking to start the season off right

Despite the times he missed last season, a Pro Bowler will get even better under his new defensive coordinator.

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The new defensive coordinator, Patrick Graham, may help the fourth-year player, who made the Pro Bowl last season, improve even further.

City of Henderson, Nevada—

From what I’ve heard, today wasn’t particularly warm for the middle of July. It was possible to fool me. Whatever the case may be, we were treated to a practice session as close to game speed as you’ll see in the gym, complete with plenty of 11-on-11 drills, an emphasis on situational play, and a constant, brisk pace. A few things made it out of Raiders camp with us…

A healthy Maxx Crosby is going to have a hell of a season this year. The coaching staff here believes he still has untapped potential after seeing how well he adapts to Patrick Graham’s new defense (which has him standing up more). The combination of Crosby’s talent, toughness, and drive has made him nearly impossible to stop so far in training camp. As a leader, he has made his presence known and held his teammates to the high standards he has established.

Nate Hobbs, the Raiders’ second-year cornerback, has had a fantastic summer and provides the team with a compelling new starting option to go along with Rock Ya-Sin. He’s done well against a talented group of Raider receivers, and his skill and length suggest he has a good shot at becoming a No. 2 corner in the league.

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The third shocking item to spread around camp is the introduction of a veteran running back named Ameer Abdullah. The eight-year pro has clicked well with Derek Carr and appears to have the inside track on becoming the team’s passing-down back, a key position in Josh McDaniels’ offense that has been occupied by Kevin Faulk, Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, and James White throughout the season. The Raiders could have some wiggle room in the trade market at the end of the month thanks to their outstanding depth at running back with Josh Jacobs, Zamir White, and Kenyan Drake.

Fourth, Kolton Miller has been a rock at left tackle, showing the new coaching staff his athleticism, toughness, and genuine desire to be great. Up front, however, the Raiders have other concerns. Lester Cotton’s surprising rise to the starting lineup is a positive development that should aid the team. However, the team has yet to settle on a starting right tackle, with veterans Alex Leatherwood and Jermaine Eluemunor competing with rookie Thayer Munford.

Five, I wouldn’t be concerned about Derek Carr’s integration into McDaniels’ scheme. Apparently he hasn’t thrown an interception all camp long, which is crazy considering how decisive and assured he appears to be. Carr’s experience in Gruden’s scheme prepared him for McDaniels’s system, which can be complex but is likely a bit more directed than Gruden’s. Davante Adams is another asset for Carr. He resembles Davante Adams in many ways. And it showed at the practice I watched, with Carr getting the ball repeatedly in the two-minute drill and Adams making a spectacular catch down the sideline over a helpless corner in the middle of the session. It appears that the two former college teammates will have a very productive first year working together again.

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