We’re all so football starved that once the season ends we start to fawn over players running through drills without pads on. At the scouting combine millions are made and lost based on workouts that don’t necessarily translate to the game itself. Then OTAs roll around and urban legends grow as players impress in drills run at half speed without any contact.
But as we all know the game of professional football is played in pads with full contact. You’ll never see anyone inducted into Canton based on what they did in shorts. Never that! This is a physical game at its core and no matter how much the rules may change the essence of football remains the same.
So being that today marked the first fully padded practice of the Dennis Allen era you had to know things were going to get real.
Tommy Kelly already knew what to expect. He was planning on an intense day of camp on Wednesday and he got it. When asked about the first day in pads under Allen it was clear that Kelly already knew what he and the rest of the Raiders were getting into.
“He ain’t wasting no time cracking the whip. I came into camp in good shape so I’m fine; it’s just that going from the shirts and skins to pads is a different animal. But I came out pretty good today so I am fine.”
Vic Tafur of the Chronicle couldn’t help but notice how much more intense Allen sounded today during Oakland’s first day of full contact. That intensity trickled down to the players as things got a little chippie which is always a great sign.
Tommy Kelly and Stefen Wisniewski had a couple of exchanges during the heat of battle today. However it was Cal rookie Thomas Mayo and Tyvon Branch who actually mixed it up a bit. Apparently Mayo was running his mouth a little more than Branch would have liked and the two had a moment.
But that’s what you would expect in camp. Tempers are always going to flare where there are jobs at stake. You just don’t necessarily expect it to go down on the first day in pads. Again, this is a good sign. It indicates that Allen’s message is getting through already. It also shows that the team is responding. So far this Dennis Allen thing is looking good. However, as stated previously you can’t determine a Super Bowl winner in August. But you definitely can lay the foundation for one.