New York (KPIX)- After reports of blistered feet from a cryotherapy treatment and a whole saga over not being able to wear his old helmet, prized receiver Antonio Brown came back to practice this week with the Raiders.
He didn’t make nearly as many headlines with his return, but the excitement around the team with Brown in the fold is palpable. When the organization traded for Brown back in March, the speculation immediately began about the kind of impact that he would have. NFL on CBS and Raiders preseason play by play announcer Beth Mowins said that the energy around the team has been pure excitement about having Brown in the building.
“Everybody is excited to have Antonio around as a teammate. Everybody obviously knows what he can do on the field. I think the focus really has been what they can do within that locker room and on the field with him as one of the biggest weapons in the NFL,” said Mowins in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith at NFL on CBS Media Day in New York. “You see a little extra pep in the step of Derek Carr and the rest of that offense.”
Mowins told CBS Local that she thinks the offense has the chance to be truly explosive this season with the addition of Brown and fellow wide receiver Tyrell Williams. Those threats on the outside will look to help Derek Carr who struggled a bit in Year 1 under Jon Gruden throwing only 19 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. But Mowins says don’t let the first year numbers fool you, she thinks Carr is in for a much better season with a better understanding of Gruden’s offense.
“I think people will be impressed to see that maturation and that growth continue in Year 2 under Jon Gruden,” said Mowins. “When you think about it, he [Carr] has had four different head coaches and three different offensive coordinators through his first five years. I think there is a comfort level around Derek and he has really spoken a lot about really taking ownership and being much more assertive and demanding of the offense around him because I think it comes from a total mastery and grasp of the offense he is running now.”
The first team offense hasn’t gotten much run so far this preseason so we won’t know about the effectiveness likely until Week 1. However, even with a big improvement on offense, a similarly large jump will be needed on the defensive side of the ball in order for the team to challenge for the AFC West crown or a wild card spot.
“I think job one for Gruden and the rest of that staff [this offseason] was to fix that defense and get that defense to a place where they have a pass rush, they can stop the run and bring some heat with the guys in the secondary,” said Mowins. “That has been the focus when you look at how they drafted and who they drafted. It starts up front. Six defensive linemen drafted in the last two seasons.”
The young defensive linemen will have to make an impact, but for now, the excitement around organization continues with AB in the fold.