Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Chandler Jones had his first in 10 years as the team opened training camp.
Reminiscent of youth football practices, several of his teammates took a lap around one of the three pitches at the team’s training center after making a mistake.
“I think I’m one of the older guys on the team now and it’s the first time I’ve seen it,” Jones said Friday after practice. “I think accountability is very important. There should always be consequences to certain actions, especially if they are negative actions. You should always be responsible for sure.”
And no one was spared from discipline.
When rookie offensive lineman Dylan Parham was out of sync and starting quarterback Derek Carr missed a trade, they were the first to jog the field on opening day of camp. Later it was center Andre James.
Carr said if players like Davante Adams or Maxx Crosby don’t, “then it’s not a team game.”
Carr also said the accountability initiative becomes contagious, with teammates who haven’t made mistakes joining the race to help anyone who might be struggling with mistakes.
“That’s what really helps teams,” Carr added. “It doesn’t mean you’re going to win it all, but it brings your team together, which helps lead to those things.”
First-year coach Josh McDaniels said outside of his team working hard to improve ahead of the August 4 preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, he didn’t place much of expectations on the Raiders.
“We’re not worried about thinking about opponents, plays, strategies and that kind of stuff,” McDaniels said. “It’s about fundamentals, techniques, conditioning, communication, learning from each other and knowing how to work with different groups of your teammates. And there are so many things we need to do between now and when we go to play, even play the first pre-season game. That’s what I expect as a coach and I think the team did a great job adopting that mindset because it’s the only thing we can control.
Backup tight end Foster Moreau echoed Carr’s sentiments that it starts with the star power of the team, and everyone sees the biggest names playing by the same rules.
“They’ve been really good at preaching that. And so the QB-center trade, it’s a two-person job, and if it goes bad, the guys do tricks,” Moreau said. “And they do it on their own and I think it’s pretty special of them to hold themselves accountable like that and it kind of shows us like a beacon where we’re trying to go.
The Raiders will play in a stacked AFC West where mistakes must be kept to a minimum if they are to win the division, or simply return to the playoffs for a second consecutive season and third time in 20 years.
The Los Angeles Chargers are a revamped team that added strength on the defensive side of the ball, including former Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack; the Denver Broncos brought in Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson; and the Kansas City Chiefs have one of the best in the game with quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
“Mistakes cost you,” said safety Duron Harman. “At this point in training it might not cost you the game, but it will cost you a lap, and if you ask those guys after (they) have done that lap, you’re a bit tired and you You have to go back and you still have to concentrate. That’s part of the responsibility that we want to have in order to be part of this team.
AP freelance writer Poppy Cartledge contributed.
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