Lamarcus Joyner was a big free agent pick up for the Oakland Raiders, and he is making his presence felt in his first training camp.
Training camp is a place where boys are turned into men, and for the Oakland Raiders, they have a lot of work to do. It’s the time when the team looks for the best talent to be on their team for the coming year.
Mike Mayock was a tremendous hire for the Raiders, as he built up the roster after a season like 2018, where the team struggled. Mayock went out and grabbed great players, including Lamarcus Joyner. A safety with the Los Angeles Rams last season, Joyner is expected to be the slot corner for the Raiders in 2019.
When it comes to Joyner, he not only plays at a high level, but he also practices the same way. The veteran has brought a winning mentality from the Super Bowl runner-up Los Angeles Rams. Joyner has always taken pride in his ability to play football, and as a former defensive back myself, watching a receiver catching balls on you is infuriating.
While he’s still young, rookie Hunter Renfrow remains on the team with a group of wide receivers who have been revamped for quarterback Derek Carr. Healthy competition is something training camp is good for, especially veterans against rookies.
Coach Jon Gruden has been singing the praises of Joyner, even comparing him to one of the all-time greats, Ronde Barber. While Barber’s skills declined very quickly, I don’t see that happening to Joyner any time soon.
Playing free safety for the Rams, Joyner had 78 tackles in 2018 with 58 being solo and 3 tackles for loss. Adding to that tackle load is 1 sack and 1 quarterback hit. Not to mention, he’s just as good as any nickel corner in the league.
In practice, Joyner has made a point to help bring Renfrow along, and the young wideout is gaining confidence:
"“Just going against the best. I feel like if I’m able to get open against him, I’ll be able to get open against anybody. “So, it’s a good gut check every day. And just a good competition for me to be able to go against him. It’s the confidence. If I can beat him, then I feel like I can beat most corners.”"
In an interview Joyner explained how Coach Gruden was encouraging him to do better:
"“I think it was Coach Gruden and [offensive coordinator] Coach Olson teasing me. They came over and said, ‘Hey, we told you to help mentor the guy, not get your butt kicked.’ I’m like, ‘Woah, woah, slow your roll.’ I was like, ‘You just opened up a can of worms there.’ So it’s been competition. My mindset with him has been Sunday, game on the line, it’s third down. I have to approach that with him because he’s a very great route runner.”"
Healthy competition is always welcomed. The 2019 Oakland Raiders are set for a big year.