Patriots can’t touch Davante Adams as Raiders dominate first joint practice

HENDERSON, Nev. — It wasn’t a fair fight. The Raiders hosted the Patriots for the first of two joint practices on Tuesday and won the offense-defense battles on each field. Raiders receiver Davante Adams made deep catches, sideline catches, high-point catches … he even threw in a one-handed grab while keeping his feet inbounds.

And it wasn’t like Hunter Renfrow and Mack Hollins weren’t feasting as well in chef Derek Carr’s seven-on-seven drills.

“There are some things that we did really well today,” Carr said after practice, “and there are some things when we turn the film on, we’ll be like, ‘Oh, wow.’ Plays that we were excited about that were maybe close to not being so good. One thing that I believe in that Josh (McDaniels) keeps talking about is not getting caught up in where we’re at but getting caught up in where we’re going and keep constantly trying to get better.”

Both teams opened up their playbooks a little bit, and Adams beat Patriots cornerback Jalen Mills three times, including on a fade route that went for a 30-yard touchdown. As observers at training camp can attest the chemistry that Carr and Adams first discovered as roommates at Fresno State is still there. Adams went on to become the best receiver in the NFL, and then the Raiders jumped in when he felt his days in Green Bay were over.

“It’s been good,” Carr said. “It’s been fun. He and I will both tell you that there are things that I am used to doing and things he is used to doing, and we’re finding that place in between. But we’ve been able to hit some big plays here and there. We’ve missed on a few, but we’ve made the correction and that’s what this time is for.

“So far, it’s been a lot of fun.”

Now, the Patriots do have some valid excuses.

They have had a week less of practice and one fewer game due to the Raiders playing in the Hall of Fame Game. And the Patriots practiced in the desert heat Monday as well — and not early in the morning, either — so there is a good reason for why they might have been dragging a bit.

If the Patriots defense was a step slow, their offense lacked some punch. The Raiders defensive line was able to largely stuff the run game — four of New England’s runs didn’t break the line of scrimmage — and get some pressure on Patriots quarterbacks.

“It was a blast,” defensive end Maxx Crosby said. “There is definitely room for improvement, but we got a lot of different looks, and we definitely got better.”

There were no fights — unlike last year’s practices against the Rams in Los Angeles — and Carr said that was a point of emphasis. But as Crosby said, sometimes tempers flare, and we’ll see what happens Wednesday.

Here are some observations from Tuesday’s practice:

• There is a new contender at right tackle. The Raiders’ primary starting offensive line consisted of Kolton Miller at left tackle, Dylan Parham at left guard, Andre James at center, Lester Cotton Sr. at right guard and Jermaine Eluemunor at right tackle. John Simpson had spent most of OTAs and training camp as the starter at left guard, but Parham — the team’s third-round pick — started in his place against the Dolphins, and Simpson didn’t play until the second half. Parham continuing to start over Simpson in practice would seem to indicate the rookie has leaped him into the depth chart.

Considering how poorly Alex Leatherwood played as the starting right tackle against the Dolphins, it’s not surprising that he’s been supplanted by Eluemunor. The former Patriot — who has started at left tackle in the past two preseason games — is simply a better option than the former first-round pick right now.

“He’s a very confident guy,” Carr said of Eluemunor. “When he is in there, no matter who he has to block, you know you’re going to get everything that he has, and that’s all you can ask. … He’s used to hard coaching. When you get guys who come into the league and they’re not used to hard coaching or things like that, they could go the other way.”

• People handing running back Ameer Abdullah the third-down role after the release of Kenyan Drake might want to tap the brakes. Abdullah and Brandon Bolden split the work in that role against the Patriots, with starter Josh Jacobs getting a pass thrown his way as well. As we’ve said, it’s going to be a timeshare at running back with Jacobs, Abdullah, Bolden and rookie Zamir White. A dangerous one, Carr said.

“It’s a deep group with a lot of talent,” Carr said. “You see guys that have the ability to make 12-yard plays and turn them into 30-yard plays or more. They have already started to make tough decisions in that room… and it’s been impressive to see, no matter who is in there, the production that they have had. … They all play with physicality, even the guys who might be called ‘smaller’ backs — they all play with toughness. When this guy comes in for that guy, you don’t even blink an eye.”

• Linebacker Jayon Brown, who has been a bit under the radar since being acquired for his cover skills, had an interception of Patriots quarterback Mac Jones.

• Wide receiver Tyron Johnson and safety Roderic Teamer stood out in punt return drills, an important part of their resume for jobs on the 53-man roster. Receiver DJ Turner, meanwhile, got the most open of anybody, as a double move in the middle of the field freed him up to catch a deep pass in the left corner from Carr.

• A few players didn’t practice: tight ends Darren Waller and Jacob Hollister, offensive tackles Brandon Parker and Thayer Munford Jr. and safety Matthias Farley. Waller practiced Aug. 18 after missing several practices because of a hamstring injury, but he’s been out since then. Parker hasn’t practiced since the first preseason game and is expected to be out for a while. Munford got hurt during practice Aug. 17 and hasn’t practiced since.

• McDaniels called the plays on offense during practice while offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi barked out immediate corrections and took notes furiously before the next play. McDaniels will, of course, call plays during the season.

• Jacobs, linebacker Denzel Perryman and defensive end Clelin Ferrell returned to practice after they all missed several sessions. Jacobs and Perryman are locks as starters, and Ferrell will have the chance to compete for a role as a rotational pass rusher. The Raiders placed pass rusher Jordan Jenkins on season-ending injured reserve Sunday

• To get their roster down to 80 players, the Raiders on Tuesday officially released Drake, as well as receiver Chris Lacy, cornerback Chris Jones and cornerback Cre’Von Leblanc, who was placed on injured reserve earlier this month. They won’t have to make any more cuts until the deadline to decide on the final 53-man roster Aug 30. The Raiders have another joint practice with the Patriots on Wednesday before wrapping up the preseason against them in their game at Allegiant Stadium on friday

(Photo of Derek Carr: Ethan Miller / Getty Images)


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