New FSM Feature: Sights and Sounds From Raiders vs Patriots Joint Practice

Franchise Sports Media

The Raiders and the Patriots got together this week for joint practices ahead of their preseason matchup on Friday. Here are some observations from practice.


Sights and Sounds From Raiders vs Patriots Joint Practice
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

From there, the next few days produced two surprising (depending on who you ask) departures: The release of RB Kenyan Drake and trading away backup QB Nick Mullens (to MIN for a 2024 cond. seventh-round pick). This solidifies Jarrett Stidham as the No. 2 signal-caller while creating more touches for a young and talented running back room. On the other side, I guess the Vikings liked what they saw from Mullens when he lit them up for a QB rating of 147.2 a couple of weeks ago.

You may have already been, but now that we have you back up to speed with the latest roster movement, let’s dive into Tuesday’s action from the Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center.

Starting bright and early in sunny Henderson, Nevada (seriously, it was a balmy-95 degree out), the New England Patriots were on hand at Raiders Headquarters for their first of two trips to the Las Vegas Valley this year (PRE-3 and WK-15). What a lucky man coach Josh McDaniels is to get an extra reunion with his old boss, Bill Belichick! With the blazing sun overhead and the two teams splitting the facility between the west and east fields, the practice was promptly underway at 8:30 am.

If you remember, last season, the joint practices that the Raiders participated in with the LA Rams got quite violent between the two sides, even for NFL standards. This is not uncommon in these preseason weeks (when everyone is eager to hit someone in a different uniform), but joint practices typically begin separately with this in mind. Simply, it’s best to save the pinnacle of aggression (team period) until the end: Our best versus your best.

With all the mainstays of Vegas sports media on hand, here are the practice periods I observed from the designated media tent. For transparency’s sake, we were positioned directly in front of the Raiders’ offensive space: A bit of a distance from the Patriots’ offensive space.



As in most practices, Carr marched out the entire starting offense to run through a script of plays against air. These ghost plays can look odd to an outsider. Still, there is incredible value in going through the simple steps and fundamentals, especially for the offensive line (which is desperately looking to build continuity as a group this season).

The Raiders then brought their defense over to give the offense a more complete feel. However, as quickly as they started, the horn sounded for all of St. Rose Parkway to hear, signifying the start of positional drills.



With all players now in their respective position groups (Vegas and New England still separate), the media tent was situated right between the Raiders’ receiving corps and their band of running backs. Both skill groups are legitimately deep for Las Vegas; Adams, Renfrow, Hollins, and Cole did well to work the route tree while the backs worked blocking techniques. After both groups rallied through a few different concepts, the almighty horn rang again; It was time for 1-on-1s.


Sights and Sounds From Raiders vs Patriots Joint Practice
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

1-on-1s (LV O vs. NE D)

Finally, some action pitting the two sides against each other! From the media tent, I had a clear, intimate view of Carr and the Raiders’ skill group going against the Patriots’ defensive backfield. Keeping things relatively simple with the route patterns, the Raider-O worked against New England’s secondary efficiently, keeping all but one pass off the grass.

Unfortunately, my view of the Patriots’ offense versus the Raiders’ D (co-occurring on the other side of the facility) was blocked. Stidham swapped in for Carr near the end of the period and also had some success. Then, a few minutes later, there’s that blaring horn. How about some special teams now?


Punt team

Coming off of a First-team All-Pro season in 2021, punter A.J. Cole trotted out his unit to the West field to match up against New England’s PR team. Cole, who we have already seen launch a 68-yard punt this preseason, delivered boomer after boomer on Tuesday.

Undoubtedly, he is among the best in the NFL at what he does; Vegas will be counting on him often to win back valuable field position this season, especially in divisional games. In punt coverage, receiver Ty Johnson was impressive as a gunner. Johnson’s speed and elusiveness make him a fantastic fit to get around jams and, eventually, all the way to the returner.


Sights and Sounds From Raiders vs Patriots Joint Practice
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Team period (LV O vs. NE D)

The most exciting segment of the day was the Raiders’ starting offense, then got with New England’s starting defense for an entire 11-on-11 period. Overall, Vegas went run-heavy, with most seeing a gain of about two to five yards. Carr completed his two pass attempts through the air, finding Adams and Renfrow each. Stidham entered the mix for the latter half of the period, handing the ball off three times, going one for two on passing.

It was only Tuesday (with gameday on Friday), so things were kept relatively light from a physicality standpoint, keeping the ball carriers mostly upright. I do not anticipate that to be the case for Wednesday’s practice. So again, I could not see Mac Jones and the Pats’ offense battling the Raiders’ starting defense, which was ongoing simultaneously.


7-on-7s (LV O vs. NE D)

With the linemen heading back to the sleds, inter-team 7-on-7s was next. Again, Carr picked up right where he left off in team period by completing all eight passes and hitting six different receivers. Keeping most of his passes intermediate to short, Carr’s best ball of the day was a touch-pass to Adams on a fade down the right sideline to beat New England’s Cover 2.

Abdullah, Renfrow, and Hollins also shined: The latter had a fantastic catch in traffic on a dig route thrown from Stidham. I am high on Hollins; I think he can offer the consistency that Bryan Edwards could not last year.


Sights and Sounds From Raiders vs Patriots Joint Practice
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Punt return team

With the temperature now crossing the triple-digit threshold, it was time to get a glimpse at the Raiders’ punt return team going against New England’s punt squad. Over about ten or so punts, Vegas rotated returners between Renfrow, Abdullah, Keelan Cole, and cornerback Darius Phillips.

Thankfully, there were no muffs on Tuesday, as all Vegas returners showed soft hands. Of the group, Renfrow has the most significant experience returning punts for the Silver & Black. Still, I would not be surprised to see receiver D.J. Turner eventually enter this conversation. However, ball security is more critical at this spot than big play-athleticism. It will be intriguing to see who ends up back there come Week 1 in Los Angeles!


End of practice

That was all from the Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center. Overall, the Raider’s offense got the better of the Patriots’ defense in their first joint-practice together. As mentioned, I could never get a solid look at the reciprocating matchup on the East field, but tomorrow is another day. Last note: star tight end Darren Waller was absent from Tuesday’s practice. Let’s keep an eye on his status throughout the week.

Remember, the Raiders and Pats square off Friday night (Aug. 26) at Allegiant Stadium, but that is not New England’s only visit to Sin City this year. They’ll be back later in the season for the Week 15 edition of Sunday Night Football. With that said, given the heavy familiarity between these two regimes, we may see these sides play it close to the vest in this Friday’s preseason contest.


The Raiders were back at the Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center on Wednesday, with another joint practice with New England. Both teams will meet at The Death Star on Friday, Aug. 26th, for their final exhibition game of the year. Kickoff against the New England Patriots is scheduled for 5:15 pm and can be seen locally on Fox 5.

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-Gabe Santiago – Franchise Sports Media

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