After another disappointing season that saw them end the season with an 8-8 record, the Las Vegas Raiders have a crucial training camp if they want to turn things around in 2021. When does it start, where will it be held, and are fans allowed to attend?
With phase 3 of the 2021 NFL offseason set to wrap up on June 18th, teams are already looking forward to training camp. It is by far the most grueling and pivotal part of a team’s preparations.
Training camps often include busy days for players and coaches, sometimes with 2 practices a day, weight training, team meetings, and film sessions.
Per the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), no contact is permitted during the first 3 days of camp. Days 4 and 5 will see players at full speed in light equipment called “spiders and shells”, day 6 is a mandatory day off, and finally fully-padded practices start on the 7th day.
Along with the strenuous schedule, full-speed practices mean that both contact and non-contact injuries are very common. Regardless, training camp is mandatory for all players, unlike OTAs which are voluntary. If a player doesn’t show up, they risk getting cut by their team.
When Does Training Camp Start for the Las Vegas Raiders?
For the first time in NFL history, there will be a unified start for training camp. 29 franchises, including the Raiders, will kick off their training camps on Tuesday, July 27th.
But the Cowboys and Steelers, who will play in the preseason Hall of Fame game, are allowed to begin training camp as early as July 21st. The Buccaneers will also be allowed to start training camp 3 days earlier on the 24th, as they play the season opener against Dallas on a Thursday night.
The #Cowboys and #Steelers can report as early as July 21 because of the hall of fame game. The #Bucs can report July 24 because of a Thursday opener. Players from the other 29 teams are required to report July 27, per the CBA.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 25, 2021
Where is the Raiders Training Camp Being Held?
Normally, NFL teams are permitted to hold training camp at outside facilities to improve accessibility for fans, However last year, due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID pandemic, teams were instructed to conduct camp at their own training facilities.
The Las Vegas Raiders will host training camp at their Henderson, Nevada training complex.
Las Vegas Raiders Training Camp Roster: Key Position Battles to Watch
As usual, teams will start camp with 90-man rosters. They must cut down to 85 players by August 17th and to 80 by August 24th, before settling on a final 53-man roster by August 31st.
The starting Center spot is definitely up for grabs, and the Raiders definitely need to address it. For the past 6 seasons, Rodney Hudson had the spot on lock and started 92 games over that span, during which he became a solid interior lineman in the NFL.
But the Raiders traded him to the Cardinals this offseason, so they will need to address that especially with how weakly the Raiders offensive line performed in 2020.
One of the options is Andre James, who has seen playing in 28 games over the past 2 seasons. The 24-year-old has made only one career start, but this could be his opportunity to prove that he’s deserving of more time on the field moving forward.
But the position will probably be filled by Nick Martin. Martin was signed by the Raiders shortly after the Hudson trade. Over the past four seasons, Martin started 62 games for the Houston Texans, so the 28-year-old would bring experience upfront for Las Vegas.
Another important position that will need addressing is DT. Johnathan Hankins has one of the starting defensive tackle spots locked up, but who will line up opposite him come Week 1. The Raider brought in Quenton Jefferson and Soloman Thomas, who will battle for the spot come Week 1.
Soloman Thomas was the 3rd overall pick in the 2017 draft, but had a disappointing tenure with the 49ers. A rotational role off the bench saw him get only ix sacks in 48 games with the 49ers, but was able to sign a $5 million contract with Vegas this offseason.
Jefferson hasn’t been a regualr starter but had a solid season with the Bills in 2020. He played in all 16 games, racking up 23 tackles and three sacks while playing 50% of the team’s defensive snaps. He finished with 35 pressures and six quarterback hits, leading to a one-year, $3.25 million deal with the Raiders.
Will Fans Be Allowed to Attend Raiders Training Camp?
The NFL is planning to have fans at all training camps, with fan events scheduled to start on July 31st. The NFL and the NFLPA continue to negotiate parameters for fan interactions.
Per the memo of the NFL and NFLPA’s agreement, “Fans will be permitted to attend Training Camp, provided that they are more than 20 feet away from Tier 1 staff, including players, at all times, and adhere to physical distancing requirements. Fans will not be permitted to interact with players at any time.”
Thus this year, fans will be allowed to return to attend the Raiders training camp.